Ban on Pakistani artistes, technicians in India: Filmmakers wonder if this is best course

As the Indian Motion Pictures Producers' Association (IMPPA) announced a ban on all Pakistani artistes and technicians from working in India, filmmakers Firstpost spoke with wondered what its impact would be

Ankita Maneck September 30, 2016 14:17:51 IST
Ban on Pakistani artistes, technicians in India: Filmmakers wonder if this is best course

Since the Uri attacks that left 18 of India's military personnel dead earlier this month, anti-Pakistan sentiment has been on the rise in the entertainment industry — or at least, is being more vociferously expressed.

Just this week, political parties like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena demanded the ouster of all Pakistani artistes from the country within 48 hours (with Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan coming under attack) while the VHP, Bajrang Dal, Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Kranti Dal brought about the cancellation of concerts by Shafqat Amanat Ali and Atif Aslam in Bengaluru and Gurgaon, respectively. Meanwhile, Dr Subhash Chandra Goel, the chairman of Zee, declared that the Zindagi channel would no longer be airing any Pakistani TV shows.

Ban on Pakistani artistes technicians in India Filmmakers wonder if this is best course

Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan have borne the brunt of most of the protests against Pakistani artistes in India, perhaps because of their status as the most successful ones

On Thursday, 29 September, the Indian Motion Pictures Producers' Association (IMPPA) announced a ban on all Pakistani artistes and technicians from working in India.

The ban will last until bilateral tensions do.

The ban, the IMPPA clarified, does not extend to projects that have already been in the works with Pakistani artistes or technicians; it only extends to new ones.

This means that Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (in which Fawad Khan has a cameo) and Raees (featuring Mahira Khan) will not be impacted by this resolution.

Firstpost spoke with several filmmakers on Friday, 30 September, for their reactions to IMPPA's ban. Among them was director Satish Kaushik, who felt that since ties between India and Pakistan were tense at the moment, the issue was one that deserved to be treated with sensitivity and caution. He added that at the very least, Pakistani artistes who had found work in India should have condemned the Uri attacks.

"I think the artists who are working here should be full of love for this country, and give a statement condemning the attacks because they are working here," Kaushik said. "A statement on their part would be nice."

Adman, writer and lyricist Prasoon Joshi felt that by resorting to bans, boycotts and forcible ousters, India was at risk of doing just what we believe our neighbouring country is. "Art, especially commercial art, is for people and they have the right to choose. However, I think our answer to Pakistan should be made in our language — not in their language. We are a great nation and should maintain our dignity in the way we respond," Joshi said.

Previously, when Firstpost had spoken to members of the film industry about the MNS' diktat that Pakistani artistes leave India, Rensil D'Silva, the writer of Rang De Basanti and director of Kurbaan told us that throwing artists out of the country could not be a solution to the current circumstances.

“I don’t think you should link art with politics. That’s a very volatile concept. I understand the anger; you can’t have a terrorist state attacking you while you just sit there and encourage people associated with that country. It’s time for action. At the same time, what will shooing the artistes achieve? Will we be happy after throwing out a few artistes? Will the attacks stop by doing so? The latest attacks were despicable. And then Pakistan went ahead and lauded the terrorists as martyrs. What we need is a solution. Throwing artistes out of the country is not a solution,” D'Silva told Firstpost.

On social media too, some filmmakers expressed their perspective of the current situation. Acclaimed director Hansal Mehta said that the demand to oust Pakistani artistes made victims of Indian filmmakers as well. He tweeted:

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