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India’s got talent….and so does Pakistan

Relations between India and Pakistan may be on a downward curve. But, one would never guess this if one were visiting the Wagah-Attari border, where both Indians and Pakistanis show their talent at the 'Beating Retreat ceremony'. Khimi Thapa writes.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2013 23:33 IST
Khimi Thapa
Khimi Thapa
Hindustan Times

Amid rising tensions along the Line of Control, relations between India and Pakistan may be on a downward curve.

However, one would never guess this if one were visiting the Wagah-Attari border.

The Beating Retreat ceremony — a daily practice that ends with the coordinated lowering of the flags of the two nations — still takes place after the dramatic theatrics of children dancing to Bollywood songs like ‘Sabse aage honge Hindustani’ (Dus), ‘It happens only in India’ (Pardesi Babu), etc, and usually ends with an emcee shouting ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ and ‘Hindustan zindabad’.

The crowds echo these slogans with gusto.

And across the border, just a heartbeat away, one hears roars of ‘Pakistan zindabad’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’.

This ceremony, which has become a must-see feature for domestic and foreign travellers to Amritsar, clearly suggests India and Pakistan love to hate each other. As they say, the future of war is going to be virtual.

In which case, India and Pakistan too should move towards a bloodless joust — not with drones but through their filmy music and somewhat belligerent sloganeering.

Anil Sharma, whose films (Gadar: Ek prem katha and The Hero: Love Story of a Spy) are known for their anti-Pakistan themes has found serious competition in Pakistani director Bilal Lashri, whose big-budget film Waar — starring Shaan Shahid one of the leading actors of Lollywood —has registered a record collection this Eid at the box office in Pakistan.

The film blames Indian spies for terrorism in Pakistan. This is another indication that the battle can be fought quite effectively without spilling blood. The Shahrukh-Salman hug that took India by storm will pale in comparison to a film featuring Bollywood’s very own patriot Sunny Deol and Lollywood’s Shahid.

And why should India be subjected to Veena Malik’s self-promoting antics when it has Mallika Sherawat whose publicity quests are legendary? Revenge is a dish best served up semi-clad.

If the celluloid war gets out of hand, we can approach the makers of the film War Chhod Na Yaar — India’s first war comedy — that ‘bombed’ at the box office for Track II diplomacy. Every cloud has a silver screen lining.

First Published: Nov 13, 2013 23:27 IST