Bollywood has criticised the Shiv Sena's decision to stop Pakistani artistes from performing in Maharashtra in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror strikes. But musicians like Gulzar and Aadesh Shrivastava feel ghazal singer Ghulam Ali, whose concerts in India were cancelled last week, should have chosen a better time.
Following are some of the reactions of the leading lights of the industry: Shaan: A ban is harsh and against the creative tenets of music. Proper paper work and a work permit visa should be adhered to. Rules will have to be respected by all. Artistes like Ghulam Ali saab are legends who should be adored and revered.
Shekhar (of the duo Vishal-Shekhar): Musicians are musicians. Whether they're Indian, Pakistani or British doesn't matter. It would be really stupid to ban Pakistani singers from performing in India. Just as Indian artistes cannot be blamed for terrorism in Pakistan, Pakistani artistes cannot be blamed for terrorism in India.
Alka Yagnik: No, the artiste in me says it's not right to ban a great artiste like Ghulam Ali on the basis of his community.
Adnan Sami: Should America ban Canadian and British musicians? Do we buy music according to caste, creed or nationality or because we love music per se? We only spread love and harmony through our music. Whatever happened to the belief that music has no boundaries? Instead of wasting time jumping on the 'banned' wagon, musicians should just concentrate on creating good music. And by the way why just Pakistani musicians? Why not ban kebabs and cuisine from across the border?
Farhan Akhtar: It's not right to ban a musician like Ghulam Ali. He's an artiste and he has nothing to do with what's happening. Such kneejerk reactions are detrimental to the future.
Aadesh Shrivastava: I've no objection to Pakistani artistes coming to India. But they should be worth it. I'm a great fan of Raahat Ali Khan, Abida Parveen and Ghulam Ali saab. When Ghulam Ali saab was prevented from coming to Mumbai, I was greatly pained because he has nothing to do with what happened to Mumbai.
However, has he bothered to make one statement against the 26/11 attacks? Considering how welcoming we've always been, it seems only right for someone like Ghulam Ali saab to speak out against terrorism.
We always extend the utmost hospitality to Pakistani artistes. But they should learn to appreciate what we do for them. So many Pakistani musicians and comedians were nobody back home. We made them celebrities in Mumbai. Who knew Adnan Sami before he came to Mumbai? All I say is when they come here they must have the proper respect for our hospitality and work permit.
Gulzar: Let's not make a larger issue of a very specific and critical situation. Mumbai has been through trauma. And there was no need for Ghulam Ali saab to choose this time to perform in Mumbai and other cities in India. This is no time for events and celebrations. He's a regular visitor to our country and more than welcome during normal times.
Pritam Chakraborty: No, musicians from Pakistan should not be banned in our country. I am both angry and sad for the 26/11 attack and upset that the whole thing originated on Pakistani soil. But that's politics and has nothing to do with music. Musicians all over the world have no caste, creed or religion. As a kneejerk reaction we should not ban Pakistani singers from performing here. The problem lies in politics not music.