Bollywood divided on sending Pakistani actors home
Adding to the commotion after the Uri attacks in Kashmir, Raj Thackeray-led political party MNS has issued an ultimatum to Pakistani artistes including Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Ali Zafar among others, to leave India within 48 hours.
Not just this, MNS has also threatened to stall the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees in Maharashtra featuring Fawad and Mahira respectively.
Reacting to the ultimatum, Pakistani actor-model Veena Malik who has stayed and worked in India for three years, says, “Whenever anything happens, we (actors) become the soft targets. Why does no one ever talk of trade and cricket matches that are happening between India and Pakistan? I don’t remember if any (Pak) actor has ever attacked or threatened someone in India. It’s the extremists who portray us in bad light.”
Malik who was also a part of reality show Bigg Boss, besides acting in a South film, further feels, “I’ve been getting lot of offers and calls to work in India but I think I need peace of mind to be creative. I cannot act knowing that a bunch of people are sitting outside the studio threatening me to leave their country,” quips the actor who is currently staying in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Bollywood actors seem to be divided on the issue. Singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya who has made comments against Pakistani artists in the past says, “Don’t call these Pakistani people artists. They are professionals who make money in our country. They don’t have any platform in their country, no studio, no production house, no glamour and no events. They are using our industry and they have nothing to offer us. Even a struggler won’t go to Pakistan to make his career.”
Producer Vashu Bhagnani however feels it’s not the right time to say anything. “We should understand that patriotic sentiments are hurt since our countrymen have been killed. If some people feel curbing Pakistani artists will make a difference, let’s stop it for a couple of years and see what changes.”
Sharing a somewhat different opinion, singer Kailash Kher who performed in Pakistan in 2012, says, “Banning or sending artists back to Pakistan won’t serve any purpose, unless they are provoking any unpleasant emotions. Nobody belonging to the field of art is spreading hatred.”
MNS has also alleged that Indian filmmakers are casting Pakistani actors in Hindi films, while our films don’t even get easily released in Pakistan and often face bans. Rubbishing these notions, Bhagnani points, “We all know Bajrangi Bhaijaan was a bigger hit in Pakistan than it was even in India. So their artistes working in our industry is not a problem, issue is terrorism.”
Kher who has performed with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and other Pakistani singers in so many countries also adds, “People in Pakistan are equally kind, art-loving and full of humanity. It’s the uneducated lot, who can be easily influenced, that becomes the trouble.”
Bhattacharya adds, “I think MNS should not threaten stars but those people who invite them to work in India. People like Bhatts and Johars are encouraging them. They are the dirtiest people in this industry. Pakistani film industry is thriving on Bollywood’s name. They have their head office in Mumbai.”
Even Twitter was filled with reactions on the issue
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