Mahira Khan calls ban on Pakistani artistes ‘sad’, says she was ‘scared’ to sign web series on Indian platforms
- Mahira Khan has only appeared in only one Indian film to date - Raees. She called the ban on Pakistani artistes in Bollywood ‘sad’.
Pakistani actor Mahira Khan, who made her Bollywood debut with Raees in 2017, opened up about the ban on Pakistani artistes in the Indian film industry. She revealed that she was offered web series that would stream on Indian digital platforms but let go of them because she was ‘scared’.
Speaking to Film Companion about the ban, Mahira said, “I guess, having experienced it firsthand, it’s just sad. When I think about it… I mean, we have all moved on. That’s what we do, if we don’t have this, we do something else. That’s what happens. But I feel like a great opportunity for the entire subcontinent to come together and collaborate was lost. I think it might happen again. Who knows?”
Mahira, who will narrate one of the short stories in an upcoming Zee5 series, said that she got offers for other digital projects but turned them down. “A lot of the other series were offered to me and at that time… I don’t know if anybody will understand when I say this, I was scared. I was genuinely just scared. It wasn’t about what people say, I was just like, ‘I don’t know if I want to go there.’ And there was some content which was amazing, and I didn’t want to miss out on it,” she said.
“But I was scared and I have no shame in admitting it. Now I am a bit more like, ‘No, come on yaar, you can’t let something that happened, which was political, affect your choices.’ So I don’t think I will do that anymore and I hope that we collaborate, even if it's on digital or in any way,” she added.
After the Uri attack in 2016, Pakistani artistes were banned from working in Bollywood. The All Indian Cine Workers Association announced a total ban on Pakistani artistes after the Pulwama terror attack in 2019. Mahira made her Bollywood debut with Raees in 2017 but could not travel to India to promote her film. It remains her only Indian release to date.