Veteran actor Om Puri lent his support in favour of Pakistani actors saying that the ban on Pakistani artistes will not change the situation. He said Pakistani artistes are not working illegally in India and if they are sent back, Indian producers, who have signed them for their films, will suffer heavy losses. However, during a live debate on a leading channel, the actor said something which did not go down well with the audience and even his friends from the industry. Talking insensitively about the Indian martyrs, Puri said, “Who had asked the soldiers to join the army? Who told them to pick the weapons?”. He didn’t stop there. The actor further went on to suggest that India should prepare 15-20 human suicide bombers and send them to Pakistan for the blasts.
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In fact, he also said, “Do you want India-Pakistan enmity to turn like Israel and Palestine, and fight for ages? India is home to crores of Muslims, there is no point in proving them for war. Several Indians have their relatives staying across the border and vice-versa, how can they fight a war with their cross-border families”. As soon as the debate went on air, the internet was flooded with criticism for Om Puri’s harsh words for those serving the country. In fact, the actor was also flaked by his contemporary Anupam Kher. On his official Twitter account, Anupam Kher wrote, “Dear #OmPuri ji. Mai aapki bahut izzat karta hoon. Lekin kal tv per desh ke sainik ke baare mein aapki baat sunkar bahut DUKH hua. #VerySad.”
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) October 4, 2016
While many supported Om Puri on his statement about the ban of Pakistani actors, his words for Indian army and comment over the issue of national security has raised quite a lot eyebrows. The actor’s remark came days after superstar Salman Khan opposed the ban too, by saying “they are artistes not terrorists”. The film industry has been divided on the issue of banning Pakistani artistes in the wake of Uri attack. Actor Randeep Hooda, filmmakers Ashoke Pandit and Anupam Kher are among those who have backed the ban.
Hooda tweeted that Pakistan should be culturally isolated. “We are trying to isolate Pakistan economically & diplomatically so the cultural isolation must follow #BanPakArtists #IndiaComesFirst #India,” he wrote. Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar said though he believes that art has no boundaries, the situation right now is such that nothing is bigger than the country. He also said that Pakistani artistes, who have worked in India should condemn the Uri attack. The debate began after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) demanded the ouster of Pakistani artistes from working in Indian film industry. Recently, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association also announced the ban on the actors and technicians from the neighbouring country till things became normal between the two nations.