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First cricket, then TV, what’s next?

As yet another artiste from Pakistan bears the brunt of souring Indo-Pak ties after 26/11, the city should expect more such attacks in the near future, writes Sweta Ramanujan-Dixit.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2009 00:05 IST
Sweta Ramanujan-Dixit

As yet another artiste from Pakistan bears the brunt of souring Indo-Pak ties after 26/11, the city should expect more such attacks in the near future.

Nothing can get political parties more publicity than attacking celebrities or popular faces. Elections are round the corner and any publicity is good publicity.

And if the artiste happens to be from Pakistan, like stand up comedian Shakeel Siddiqui is, even better.

The Shiv Sena first ‘banned’ Pakistani singers and cricketers in Mumbai after 26/11. The Maharashtrian Navnirman Sena went a step ahead and targetted Siddiqui.

Both, the Sena and the MNS are vying for the Marathi manoos’ votes and believe that gimmicks like these will help them keep the saffron flag flying high.

However, veteran journalist Aroon Tikekar does not think political mileage was the driving force behind the attack. “It is an emotional response. Raj will find thousands of people supporting him,” said Tikekar.

The incident has left artistes fuming. Vishal Dadlani, singer and composer who has judged reality shows featuring singers from Pakistan, said: “The number one problem facing this country is illiteracy and it’s becoming more ridiculous. The people who so famously and valiantly disappeared in our time of need have saved us from a great peril — laughter!”

The fallout of such assaults is that they could do to television what they did to cricket. An India-Pakistan match in Mumbai was every cricket fan’s fantasy, but it’s now a political issue ever since the Shiv Sena dug up the Wankhede stadium pitch to protest against Pakistani players playing in Mumbai.