by Cinema Cynic
Over the last 48hrs we have seen the comments of two of the Bollywood elite protesting their patriotism while alternately defending the employment of Pakistani actors or pledging not to work with them in the future. Once again the ruling clique of Bollywood just does not get it. The interests of the clique are put above the interests of the nation and the self-righteous egos of the celebrities seeks to pontificate to us “commoners” (using Her Royal Highness Deepika Padukone’s words – it will be cold day in hell before I forgive that classless utterance) on the need to separate “art and culture” from politics.
In the first place, I certainly hope that neither Priyanka Chopra nor Karan Johar considers what they do either art or culture. From tasteless and gratuitous stereotyping to mindless plots to Ms. PC being called “strong and empowered” for dropping her trousers to rut like an animal within 4 minutes of her show starting, neither of those two worthies should deign to place their performances in the category of either art or culture. Secondly, wake up – saying you are patriotic or “put the country” first are meaningless words. Defence of the employment by Bollywood of Pakistani actors who, to paraphrase Priyanka Chopra, “live and die for their art” reeks of a preposterous, insensitive, condescending and downright obnoxious attitude. In case Ms. PC thinks we “commoners” are all stupid, the Pakistani artistes are employed by Bollywood for something that she knows a lot about (needing much of it to take 5 hour flights for lunch) – money.
It’s not about “art”, stupid. It is about the desire of a Bollywood clique to make money in Pakistan or among the Pakistani diaspora. Where PC fits into that is a matter for conjecture as she is a mediocre actress though a mega celebrity and neither a director or producer of any note. Perhaps it’s about loyalty to the cabal? Or protecting some investment?
As for Karan Johar, what he fails to realize is that it was never acceptable to employ Pakistani actors. Who told you to feature them? It was your choice. Each one employed was at the expense of a talented Indian, raising questions from the earliest days. In addition, unless Karan Johar has been living under a rock, difficulties with Pakistan are not a recent event – as thousands of dead Indians now silently attest to and to whom nary a word of sympathy or apology has come from your Pakistani friends.
Despite what Aamir and SRK might say, India is a very tolerant place – after Pakistani support for Khalistani terrorism, Zia’s Operation Topac which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of the entire Kashmiri Pandit population, after the Bombay blasts of 1993 and the 26/11/2008 attacks and after attack after attack on Indian security personnel, Indians tolerated efforts to improve relations with Pakistan through cultural and people to people ties. In this effort, Pakistan has benefitted more – Pakistani artistes mint money in India but is the opposite true? No.
For years, the issue of Pakistanis being given pride of place in Bollywood has been festering among fans but the cold blooded murder of 19 sleeping soldiers in Uri was the last straw and the Indian public is not gulled by protestations of “patriotism”. Just note – nobody has banned your film. Some people are, however, planning to boycott it – either refusing to screen it or see it. You have yourself to blame for taking the Indian public for granted. Oh – a question for you: did you pay your crew or are they on a profit sharing deal? Because to attempt say that it would be “unfair to your crew” means either you failed to pay them or you are just trying to manipulate sentiment. In both cases, such conduct is beneath contempt.
The Bollywood conceit of equating its efforts with frantic diplomacy undertaken by successive governments of all hues to reduce tensions is laughable. The United States and the former Soviet Union had the closest of diplomatic ties during the Cold War but I can’t think of a single Hollywood film that gave pride of place to a Soviet actor – and these two countries weren’t even shooting at each other.
Frankly, the expressions of sympathy by some members of the Bollywood ruling clique towards the Uri victims reek of hypocrisy. In fact, by placing its own commercial interests – and those of its Pakistani sweethearts – above the national effort to isolate Pakistan, the Bollywood clique has shown that it has shed nothing but crocodile tears and has neither the national interest at heart nor any empathy with the victims of Pakistani terror.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.