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Bollywood vs Pak artistes: Producers seek a two-year ban on talent from across the border

Amid hue and cry against Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s song in Welcome to New York, the Indian Film and Television Producer Council seeks temporary ban on Pakistani talent in the Hindi film industry.

bollywood Updated: Feb 22, 2018 18:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Welcome to New York,Mahira Khan,Fawad Khan
Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh in a still from Welcome to New York. The demand for a ban on Pak artistes began with a song of this film that was sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

Almost two years after Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan returned to Pakistan following the Uri attack and its backlash, demand for a ban on Pakistani artists in Bollywood is rising yet again and the latest trigger is Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s song, Ishtehaar, in Welcome to New York. According to a Times Now report, the Indian Film and Television Producer Council is seeking a two-year ban on artistes from the neighbouring country.

It all began with singer-turned-politician Babul Supriyo demanding Rahat’s version of the song should be scrapped and an Indian singer should re-record it. “I would request the makers of the film to remove Rahat’s voice and get someone else to dub it. I am also not sure why Atif Aslam got to sing Dil Diya Gallan when for sure our very own Arijit could have done a much better job. The FM stations played the song galore while news channels announced the name of our soldiers martyred by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists,” he had said last week.

Supriyo’s mention of Arijit Singh triggered rumours that Salman Khan - who makes a guest appearance in Welcome to New York - got Arijit’s version of the song replaced with Rahat’s version. Producer Vashu Bhagnani later issued a statement claiming that Arijit never recorded any song for the film that features Sonakshi Sinha, Diljit Dosanjh, Boman Irani, Karan Johar and Neha Dhupia, among others.

In 2016, similar rumours were doing the rounds as Jag Ghoomeya from Sultan used Rahat’s voice instead of Arijit’s. Salman had then claimed it was the producers’ decision to use Rahat’s version, not his.

Now, a Times Now report has claimed Suresh Amin, CEO of Indian Film and Television Producer Council (IFTPC) has asked for a two-year ban on “Pakistani artistes working in the Hindi film industry” and said that the council will pass a resolution and inform Bollywood to “stop working with Pakistani artistes for the next two years”.

Reacting to the demands, Bhagnani has said, “Prints have been sent worldwide. I cannot undo it but I assure all of you that my next ventures won’t feature any Pakistani artistes. For me, India comes first. We will spread the word in the industry and send notices to everyone that ‘please stop (working with) all Pakistani artistes.”

In 2016, just before the release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, widespread protests against Fawad’s presence in the film caused a lot of drama and the filmmaker had to eventually apologise to ensure a smooth theatrical release. Reacting to the furore, Fawad had told Dawn in an interview earlier this year, “Obviously, I’m not a man of steel in that people’s words don’t affect me. They might hurt me. But I am becoming immune to it as time goes by. I have no expectations from them, and that’s what I think has developed this camaraderie. Even if I don’t work with them ever again, I’ll still always have love and regard for them, and I assume that’s how they feel as well. That’s why we’re still in touch. We even make plans to meet, to catch-up.”

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First Published: Feb 22, 2018 18:15 IST