Bollywood seems united in boycotting Pakistani presence from Hindi cinema at least for now—even Ajay Devgan has now gone on record to say that he won’t work with actors from across the border.
But the situation is not as simple as it seems, what with Pakistani singers contributing to Bollywood motion picture soundtracks in a regular basis. Such is the fear of a backlash inBollywood that some producers intend to replace the voices of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan andAtif Aslam from their forthcoming films.
Says a producer whose small-budget ready for release film features a track by Rahat, “It was the highlight of my film. Now it’s become the biggest threat to my film.”
While producer Karan Johar is uncertain as to how he should handle the threat to his Diwali release Ae Dil Hai Mushkil featuring Fawad Khan, another Bollywood biggie another Pakistani actor Mahira Khan is in a serious dilemma as it already features a superstar Shah Rukh Khan who has gotten into conflict situations earlier with political elements in Maharashtra.
Says a source close to Raees, “Even if we shoot with Mahira outside India what guarantee is there that we’d be allowed to release the film peacefully?”
A third project entitled Hindi Medium featuring Irrfan Khan was to star Pakistan’s Sabar Qamar in the lead. But the new-Qamar’s future in Bollywood now seems bleak as there is every indication that she may be replaced in the film.
As Bollywood gears up to place a complete blanket-ban on Pakistani artistes actress and parliamentarian Hema Malini says, “I completely agree with Nana Patekar who said country comes before any other consideration. Right now we are in a war-like situation with our neighbours. We need to distance ourselves completely from Pakistan. Also, I fail to understand why Pakistani artistes working in India are so terror-stricken at acknowledging terror attacks in India.”