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The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s ultimatum to Pakistani actors to leave the country, following the Uri terror attack that claimed the lives of 19 jawans, received usual criticism as the organisation is known for using such incidents for its political benefit. Many open letters and Facebook posts were written in favour of Pakistani artistes suggesting art and culture know no boundaries and that the creative people should be kept away from Indo-Pak rivalry. After all, what does a “common man have to do with all this”.
Karan Johar, whose upcoming film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, said in a TV interview that if banning actors solve terrorism then “we must go ahead with it”. However, there were some dissenting voices who questioned the silence of these artistes on series of terror attacks on Indian soil sponsored by authorities from their country.
Karan was actually right in saying that banning actors will not solve terrorism. But there is a larger picture which Karan and many like him either don’t understand or intentionally try to ignore. Actors are part of the big entertainment industry which has a huge commercial worth and is a source of employment to many. And if reports are to be believed, the Pakistani film industry fears to suffer a 70 per cent business loss if Indo-Pak ties worsen and Bollywood films are banned in the country. Many Pakistani distributors believe if Indian films are not released there, cinema owners might have to completely wrap up their business or shut a few screens to cut costs.
It’s almost clear that the Indian government will go for non-military actions to avenge the Uri attack. It has asserted that it will make all efforts to isolate Pakistan. Isolation means India will do international campaigns to give Pakistan a global recognition of a terrorist state and urge world nations to snap all ties and impose economic sanction on it. India is also considering revoking the Indus Water Treaty which will leave Pakistan high and dry in the literal sense.
If all these steps come into effect, more than the Pakistani forces, which are behind most of the terror attacks in India, the common man of Pakistan will suffer. So should the government consider the pain of a common man in Pakistan and forget the killing of Indian soldiers? I think the answer to this should be left for interpretation of the global happenings.
Strengthening the voice of common man is must for a strong democracy. Artistes too are common people and they must raise their voice at the time of crisis. But, unfortunately, Pakistani actors have chosen to remain silent on Indian tragedy and interestingly found spokespersons in their Indian counterparts. An unfavourable appointment at a film institution in India meets with countrywide opposition. The film fraternity unites to oppose decisions of the Censor Board when they threaten their creative freedom. That is Indian democracy. May be it is the time to make Pakistan feel the heat in a similar way so that they can come out of their comfort zone and speak.
It’s true that the contribution of Pakistani artistes in the Indian film industry cannot be undermined. From Reshma to Atif Aslam and Zeba to Fawad Khan, they have all amused us and in return got our love and respect. But if there is a slightest chance of making our enemies nervous with abeyance, the Indian cinema lovers must not think the other way.
This article was originally published on http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/web-edits/pakistan-actors-fawad-khan-uri-attack-bollywood-mns-indus-water-treaty-saarc-3054828/