Several eminent Bollywood personalities have come out in support of Pakistani actors Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, after the Shiv Sena said that they will not be allowed to promote their films in Maharashtra. While Fawad’s upcoming films include Shakun Batra’s Kapoor and Sons, co-starring Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra, and Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil alongside Ranbir Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Mahira will make her Bollywood debut alongside actor Shah Rukh Khan.
The 30-year-old former VJ made her debut with the Pakistani film, Bol (2011). It won her appreciation and various awards. She has been seen in several Pakistani TV shows, such as Humsafar, Shehr-e-Zaat and Sadqay Tumhare. She will make her Bollywood debut in Rahul Dholakia’s directorial, Raees, alongside Shah Rukh Khan. According to reports, Dholakia felt that since she was already popular in India, after Humsafar was telecast here, she would add value to the film.
The 33-year-old actor started his film career in Pakistan with Khuda Ke Liye (2007). He has worked in many successful Pakistani television shows, such as Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai, which gained immense popularity in India too. He made his Bollywood debut last year with Khoobsurat, starring Sonam Kapoor. In September last year, Sonam was quoted as saying, “People loved our performance and our chemistry. Fawad and I are working together again for sure.”
Here is what the film fraternity has to say about the diktat:
Aanand L Rai, film-maker (he is working with Pakistani actor Momal Sheikh in his film, Happy Bhaag Jaayegi): Don’t mix politics with any artiste, artistic event or creative process. We respect creative people and artistes, and we should not behave like other countries.
Shashanka Ghosh, film-maker (he gave Fawad Khan his Bollywood break with Khoobsurat): I don’t think this is a good idea at all. In the future also, if an actor fits a role, I will not hesitate in casting him. It doesn’t matter to me which country he is from.
Pritish Nandy, film-maker: The government must take a call on what their position is regarding Pakistani actors. While some are allowed, others are not. There is a contradiction, and it is very important to have a clear policy on this, so that people in the film industry can decide what to do.
Vikram Bhatt, film-maker: I feel I got away with my film (Creature 3D) featuring a Pakistani actor because it released earlier. If it had released now, it would have been a problem. All I want to ask is that is this the government that we voted for?
Mahesh Bhatt, film-maker: Movies take time to make, and when policies change on the whims of a few people, others live in dread as to what awaits them. It’s tragic to target them. With folded hands, I urge them to see reason.