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Bollywood’s take on Pak artists ban, demystified

October 4, 2016
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Bollywood Opinion on Pakistani Actors Ban

Recently, the Indian Motion Pictures’ Association (IMPA) has, in light of the Uri Attacks, opted to ban Pakistani technicians and artists from working in the country. This has invariably generated a debate regarding the veracity of targeting performers in the wake of a terror attack.

A number of Bollywood celebrities such as Karan Johar, Mahesh Bhatt, and Salman Khan have stated that politics and art should be allowed to remain separate, whereas the likes of Kangana Ranaut and Ranbir Kapoor have chosen to remain neutral on the issue. The likes of Pahlaj Nihalani have questioned why this issue is gaining precedence over the relations between India and Pakistan. Read here to know how the B-town is divided over art and politics.

The opinion of Salman Khan

Salman Khan has said that it would have been ideal if an atmosphere of peace and love between the countries concerned had prevailed. He has also said that the decision was basically a reaction to the actions of certain individuals. He feels that in the wake of the recent terror attacks this decision was in fact a proper one, but he has also said that the ones asked to leave the country are “artists” and not “terrorists”.

The opinion of Karan Johar

The celebrated director has stated how aggrieved and terrified he feels given the irredeemable loss of lives and the atmosphere of terror on the border, and expressed his empathy for the same as well. However, he also does not feel that banning Pakistani artists is the right solution – he feels that if it were the right solution then he would have accepted the same – and has instead called for higher forces (read authorities) to come together and find out a proper solution to the present situation. Banning the Pakistani performers, technicians and actors wouldn’t solve the purpose nor help the cause, he added.

The opinion of Anupam Kher

Kher feels that Pakistani actors and artists in India should have strongly condemned the Uri Attacks considering how friendly and cordial Indians have been to them. He has pointed that there are indeed wonderful and generous people in Pakistan, but at the same time he is also biased towards his own nation and its armed forces.

The opinion of Nana Patekar

Nana Patekar has clearly prioritized country over artists from across the border. He has stated that for him the country is above everything else and feels that compared to the magnitude of one’s nation, artists are like miniscule insects. The former soldier has stated that he has no interest in knowing about the opinions of actors from Bollywood. He has also implored media to ignore them, whom he has termed worthless ordinary individuals, and instead focus on the soldiers whom he considers the real heroes of the country.

The opinion of Randeep Hooda

Hooda feels that since India is trying to isolate Pakistan from diplomatic and economic points of view, cultural isolation is only natural. He also feels that India should come first. He has said that only when it is isolated will the common people of Pakistan be able to pressurize their army and government to take actions against the terror outfits.

The opinion of Ranbir Kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor has stated that he is not exactly in favour of doling out philosophy in this situation and accepts the present reality. However, he has also expressed hope that the general feeling of negativity and bitterness does not persist for long.

The opinion of Anurag Kashyap

Kashyap has lent support to Johar asking how is sending back the likes of Fawad Khan a solution. He has also asked the powers-that-be what the next steps are going to be in this regard.

The opinion of Kangana Ranaut

Ranaut has said that the present situation is not one where the people are in the proper frame of mind or capable of being objective. She has also termed the loss of soldiers a major one.

The opinion of Saif Ali Khan

The Nawab of Pataudi has been philosophical about the entire incident and has spoken about the need for an artistic world without boundaries. He has also spoken about the need for love and peace.

The opinion of Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Siddiqui feels that this decision is part of the policies of the government to let people work in its territory, perhaps implying that he finds nothing unusual in all this.

The opinion of Kailash Kher

The opinion of Kher, who performed in Pakistan four years back, echoes that of Johar and Kashyap. He has said that unless artists are spreading negative emotions – and in his opinion Pakistani artists are not doing that – they should not be asked to leave the way they have been. He also feels that such actions will never serve any purpose.

Reaction in Pakistan

Fawad Khan left India after the incidents and considering the 48-hour ultimatum served to Pakistani artists by MNS, he has for the time being delayed his plans to come back. The main film and television authority in Pakistan – PREMA – has also banned Indian content from being telecast on screens over there. Similarly, Indian films are also not being allowed to run over there.

Summing up

As may be evident from the above information, opinions are clearly divided when it comes to the decision of banning Pakistani performers from working in India.

However, before any further judgement is made on this issue it needs to be realized that the decision is perhaps not an injudicious one given the present circumstances. Right now, emotions are running really high – people are questioning why Pakistani actors should be allowed to work in Bollywood in the first place, given how Pakistan has often behaved with India; and MNS has clearly lambasted the supporters of Pakistani actors and talent in Bollywood saying that why can’t they support their country in these times.

In their support, they have pointed out the way the likes of Rajnikanth and prominent actors from the Tamil and Kannada film industries took to roads to support the case of their respective states in the recent Cauvery Water Row. They have singled out Salman Khan for special treatment saying that he should go to Pakistan if he is so enamoured with them. That if he continues supporting them, then his films could be banned as well. In such a situation, it is really hard to guarantee the security of Pakistani performers in India.

People who have been opposing the decision need to understand this and also remember the fact that such embargos have been placed previously as well. Pakistani artists have been banned, they have gone back, and then they have come back as well. It is not going to be any different this time around. Things will become normal when they are supposed to.

 Read More:

Uri – an attack on India; it’s a call to action
Indus Water Treaty Between India and Pakistan
India Surgical Strikes Against Pak Across LoC
#UriAttack 18/9: Is It Time for Pak to Pack Up?
Interesting Facts About Indian Army
Can The Kashmir Issue Be Ever Resolved Through Peace Talks?
Who was Burhan Wani
Government’s Outreach to Youth From Kashmir
The NIT Srinagar Issue
Militant Groups in India
Kishtwar: Another Burning Chapter in Kashmir
Article 370 of Indian Constitution – Historical Background and Provisions


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I am from Kolkata. Like any other Bengali I love my fish, eggs and bhaat and sweets but I also feel proud to be a part of the biggest melting pot of the world - India. It is true that I need to go a long way before I finally call it a day but I have come some way and am sure will travel further. Cheers :)

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most of the Arab countries asked Indian workers to leave there country for Arabanisation and mear to acquire the job market and money, then why should we allow Pakistani artists to work in India despite we know that Pakistani people are sponsoring terrorism in our country and killing our Army Soldiers. We should respect our country and its decision and also we must see how our army people giving there life for saving our country and its peoples…

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