Just some years ago, Pakbashing was the ‘in' thing in Bombay filmdom - from Sarfarosh to Gadar and from Hero to LOC. Our neighbourhood country was openly portrayed as a nest of villains. But now there's been a shift of sorts. Not surprisingly actors today are in no mood to badmouth Pakistan.
Such an instance had happened earlier in the case of Akshay Kumar who had reportedly refused to badmouth Pakistan in the film Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo. In fact, Kumar was so adamant that he had threatened to quit if the lines with political connotations were not deleted from the script. It was also obvious that he wasn't too pleased with a none-too-strong role assigned to him in the film that also featured Amitabh Bachchan and Bobby Deol.
Yet another actor has now taken a no-politics stand, according to reports from the London shoot of the film in question - Goal. Recently, the unit of the film, said to be derived from the Hong Kong hit Shaolin Soccer, was at the Waltha-mstow Stadium. The scene was picturised on John Abraham and Arshad Warsi.
Arshad, who plays the part of Shaan Pathan has been thrown out of the football team captained by John Abraham who plays the part of a character called Sunny At the stadium, a supporting actor asks, "Kya Pathan, tu football chhod ke cricket khelne lag gaya kya"?
At this juncture, John was to speak disparaging dialogue that referred obviously to the Pakistan cricket team. John put his foot down, requesting the lines to be replaced with something that was not "hostile."
"It's alright, we'll come up with something else," the film's director Vivek Agnihotri is said to have assured the actor and the scene was rewritten. Several unit sources confirmed the incident that had created tension during the shoot.
On a denial mode:
Strangely, when we asked director Agnihotri about the incident, he said, "How can there be a reference to cricket when my film is about football? There is no anti-Pak dialogue at all," he said. We SMSed John Abraham and Arshad Warsi, but it seems the actors have chosen to keep mum on the subject.
Practically every actor - be it Amitabh Bachchan or Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar or John Abraham - the stricture is, no politics and especially no Pak-bashing.