On Wednesday as Kabir Khan descended from a vehicle at the Karachi airport to board his flight back to Mumbai after attending a conference, a mob descended on him hurling angry invectives and displaying scarily aggressive behaviour including taunting the director with a shoe.
Kabir remained admirably calm throughout the attack.The video showing the whole ugly inhospitable incident has gone viral.The question now is, should we take this latest attack on India lying down? Subhash K Jha spoke to Kabir Khan hours after he touched down in Mumbai
Kabir, are you all right?
(laughs uneasily) I am fine. I guess you’ve seen the video. I was hoping and praying that those jokers would not release the video.Now, this is exactly what they wanted.
Forget what they wanted. What on earth were they thinking when they attacked you so suddenly at the airport?
I’ve no clue. But they kept on ranting about how I had shown Pakistan in a bad light in Phantom.Twice I tried to talk to them. But they were in no mood to listen. I really didn’t want to give any importance to them.
Have they forgotten that you also made Bajrangi Bhaijaan , the most Pakistan-friendly Indian film ever?
I don’t think they were interested in reasoning or rationale.
So they had come prepared to attack you?
It looks like it. They knew the time of my departure. They were there all prepared for what they had to do.
Kabir, anything could have happened. These lunatics could have pulled out a gun instead of a shoe?
I agree.You can’t reason with the lunatic fringe. But I really don’t want to play into their hands. I am not going to get cowed down and be provoked into making statement against the country. Because the truth is, the common man is just not interested in any violence .I was in Karachi for just one day. And it was all very friendly and hospitable…until this incident. The Pakistani people are warm and welcoming. It’s just a handful creating an vitiated atmosphere.
You said the same during the release of Phantom. Isn’t it about time we stopped all cultural ties with Pakistan until they stop their hostility?
I am not too sure of that. If we do that we play into the hands of the political miscreants. There were just a handful of troublemakers at the airport. By the time I realized what was happening I was inside the airport.
The security officers at the Karachi airport just watched?
You are right. Maybe they were as baffled as I was.
Why are you being so charitable about what could have been a very dangerous situation?
Look, I know the issue has blown out of all proportions. But I am not going to be intimidated by such attacks. Phantom was not the first political film I made.And Pakistan is not the first country that has shown hostility towards my cinema.I am sure to face more such situations in future.
So given a chance, would you go to Pakistan again?
That’s not possible. My wife has made it clear I can’t go there.