Much as we like to think of Fawad Khan, Ali Zafar, Atif Ali , Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and other entertainers from Pakistan to be part of the Bollywood industry there is a studied silence on their end regarding the current crisis in Indo-Pak relations.
However Shabana Azmi speaks up for the silent Pakistani artistes. “Does Hollywood ask our actors to speak up every time a girl is gangraped in our country?Or as Kamila Shamsie puts it “lets not shift the burden even one inch from those who are responsible for these dastardly activities to artists who are already engaged in fostering goodwill and strengthening cultural relations.” Why should any artist be hauled up over the coals for acts that are heinous but certainly not of their doing?
According to sources in the know many of those Pakistani entertainers actively working inBollywood are planning to stay away until the furore blows over.
A prominent producer-director says the Pakistani entertainers have been asked to stay “home”.
“Apparently the fine actors and musicians who work in our country have been advised by their government to stay home and seek work there. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Fawad or Ali Zafar in Mumbai in the near future,” says the producer-director.
What has incensed a large chunk of politicians and entertainers in India is the Pakistani artistes’ silence over the Uri massacre. Earlier this week television’s most followed news journalist Arnab Goswami voiced the widespread rancour in India when he wanted to know why Fawad Khan and the other Pakistani entertainers were quiet.
While most of them remain stubbornly silent on Uri a leading entertainer from Pakistan(who’s very popular in India) spoke to this writer on condition of anonymity. “What would you want us to say? I don’t know about the others. But I have family in Pakistan and all said and done it is my home .That’s where I return after I finish my work in India. Humein apne mulk ki phikar karni padti hai.It’s unfair to ask an artiste and an entertainer to comment on political matters.”
While BJP’s official spokesperson Shaina NC has categorically told this writer that there will be a marked shift in India’s attitude towards Pakistani artistes, the outspokenShatrughan Sinha opts for the diplomatic route in the matter. “My views on human and cultural ties between the two countries are well known. Right now it would be improper for me to comment on the issue.”