Mumbai: The call to ban Pakistani actors in Bollywood by the Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association (IMPPA) has been deemed irrelevant by Indian film producer and censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani.
"Who are these people asking for a ban? By whose authority are they asking for this ban? Not one producer-member of IMPPA is working with a Pakistani artiste. The ones who stand to lose heavily from such a ban are Karan Johar and Ritesh Sidhwani, who have almost completed films with Pakistani artistes," Nihalani said.
"These artistes who have worked in these films should not be asked to leave. They have every right to work here," he added.
While Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, Raees, backed by Ritesh Sidhwani's Excel Entertainment, will mark Mahira Khan's foray into Hindi cinema.
Nihalani strongly feels the rules regarding the work permit for Pakistanis must change now.
"Direct import from Pakistan into India is prohibited. Since movies are exported and imported between India and Pakistan through Dubai, how is it that Pakistani actors have been getting work permits to work in Mumbai?
"Not just actors, but all professionals from Pakistan must be prohibited from working in India until relations between the two countries improve," Nihalani said.
Before IMPPA, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had demanded that Pakistanis who are working in Bollywood, must leave the country.
The film fraternity, meanwhile, is locked in a debate whether it is the right thing to do or not — even as some Pakistani theatres have decided to avoid screening Indian films.