To Ban Or Not Ban…

By Deepti D.

So people its October… I mean I know you would ask what’s so great in October, it comes every year and this time the weather is also hot and humid. So what is happening this October… well for first it’s the starting of the much awaited festive season. And when the festive season comes it’s all about new clothes, yummy food, celebrations and …. Guess … guess… the most awaited releases of the year! Big banners in the industry wait for this time of the year when they can release their movies and earn their place in the 300 or 500 crore club.

But unfortunately this year things are a little different, not because they are not movies that are slated to release… in fact this year we had Karan Johar’s Ae dil hain Mushkil and SRK’s Raees but… but their release looks either postponed or stalled indefinitely. And no its not because of some strike or some ego issues between the banners, it’s because of the recent tension that has brewed up between our ‘friendly’ neighbour and unfortunately both these movies have Pakistani actors: Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan respectively.

With the recent attacks on the army camp at Uri by Pakistan followed by the Surgical operation on Terrorist camps by India, the tension between the two countries have reached its pinnacle. Everyone on both sides of the border are scared of the impending ‘war’ but the people who have been affected indirectly are the Pakistani artists who work her, be it singers or actors. After the Uri attack, the MNC had asked all the Pakistani artists to stop working on any projects in India and leave the country immediately and also demanded the ban of these artists working in the Indian Movie industry. So it was said that after the threat the latest heart throb Fawad Khan had left India only to issue a statement later that he was in Pakistan since July for the birth of his 2nd baby. It is also rumoured that the scenes of Mahira Khan in Raees are being reshot for a smooth release but nothing has been confirmed as yet. Subsequently, Indian Motion Pictures’ Artists Association (IMPAA) came out with a resolution to ban all Pakistani artists and technicians till the relations between the two countries normalises.

But in the wake of all this, the industry is now divided into 2 parts, some supporting the ban and some showing displeasure against it. Veteran actors like Anupam Kher and Hema Malini have said that the ban is absolutely correct as before everything India comes first and one should think of the soliders who have laid their lives protecting us. In this hour of tension, it’s our country which should be kept on the priority list rather than art and artists. Even actress like Sonali Bendre has backed the decision of banning Pakistani artists working in India saying that it’s the need of the hour and if every business relation ties are being cut why should they leave the artists. Subsequently because of these statements, the concerts of Shafqat Amanat Ali and Atif Aslam scheduled in Bengaluru and Gurgaon respectively were cancelled.

And then we have people like Karan Johar, Salman Khan and Anurag Kashyap who have expressed their displeasure over the ban call. It is very clear as to why Mr Johar was against the ban as his film starring Fawad is almost ready for release and he knows the brand value of the actor among the females. So he retaliated saying that he understands the tension but at the same time art and culture is above all this… but I want in general want to ask him that do these actors contribute in the Indian economy or pay taxes or are they willing to part half of their salary to the Indian solider who lost his life and left behind a crying family?

Well and to further support the point made by Karan, enter controversy’s favourite child… who else but our own Sallu Bhai. Salman also said that he was against the ban, as the army killed terrorists and artists are not terrorists, they are above all this and they should not be targeted, but err… Mr Khan, artists or actors doesn’t matter, they come from across the border and anything which is Pakistani is banned, so what if they are artists and actors.

Well on the other side, since these Pakistani actors stay half of their time in Mumbai, so when they were requested to condemn the Uri attack as an act of terrorism, Atleast on humanitarian grounds and as a good will gesture, they stoically refused and left the country. Now isn’t this show the patriotism towards their Pakistan. They were not being told to declare Pakistan as a terrorist state, but they could have Atleast condemned the attack for those 19 soliders who lost their lives as a mark of respect.

Moreover, all those people who feel that the ban is unfair should realize that Pakistan had banned screening of Hindi movies in their country after the 1965 war till 2008 and also denied Anupam Kher visa and director Kabir Khan was heckled at the Karachi Airport. Were they not artists, so why should we show kindness towards them in this time of turbulence. Agreed the Pakistani artists have a lot of talent, well, they have the whole world to showcase, leave India alone for a while please.

And before I become too patriotic with this article, I have found a new found respect for Akshay Kumar who slammed the people who wanted a proof on the surgical strike or arguing about the ban on Paki artists, he said it absolutely right…that the solider who has died, his family is not concerned about any film or artists release or ban, they are worried about their future and that exactly we should be doing so.

We sleep in the night peacefully in an AC room thanks to our soliders who are guarding our country in the adverse climates of Siachen. Atleast as a mark of respect to those soliders who have died and who are fighting every day to protect us, we can just say that although we are not their physically, but you are always there in our prayers.

One thought on “To Ban Or Not Ban…

  1. Deepti, well written. However, at the end of the day, it does not matter what Salman, Anurag, Karan or Om Puri says. How about asking the government to take a stand, what do they intend to do? After MNS threatened the artistes to leave the country, it was Maharashtra government who gave police protection to Karan. So rather than agreeing or disagreeing our artistes over their views, queation the government who grants work visa to Pak artistes. I did not see a single official government statement that was issued to clear the air whether the artistes will be granted visa in future or not. Condemning artistes is easy but they are not the decision makers. How about the citizens ask the ruling government to take a stand. After all we voted for them, they are there to protect and work keeping the interests of the citizens in mind. I find all the hoopla about which actor/actress said what foolish. Sorry for the long post, just my two cents 😊

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