If they keep quiet, they are criticised. If they talk, their words storm a controversy. Filmmaker Vikas Bahl wonders why Bollywood celebrities really have to comment on everything.
Amidst the ongoing clamour around the cross-border tension between India and Pakistan spilling into the entertainment world, some Indian outfits have imposed a ban on Pakistanis from its showbiz world and a few Pakistani theatres have pulled down Indian movies from its screens.
Celebrities across the board and borders have commented on the spill over, with some talking in support of the steps, some opposing it and some just keeping mum. The “Queen” fame director feels “Bollywood is over-credited for words of wisdom on everything”.
“Honestly, I don’t know why Bollywood has to actually comment on everything… Because they are so many issues, and so many people in the country are well-versed with the issue. They (those who must comment) have been working on the issue for so long,” Bahl told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
“Bollywood need not comment on everything. If we are well-versed and we are informed, then yes. Like I don’t have to comment on very issue to do with women in India. I am honestly not enabled as I have not worked in that area. I might have done one piece of work and actually my learning about it happened over the course of ‘Queen’,” he added.
The calls for ban on Pakistani talent in India created quite a stir after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) issued an “ultimatum” to all Pakistani artistes to quit India within 48 hours or face trouble.
MNS had issued the so-called ultimatum on September 23 to all Pakistani cine and television artistes to leave India. The ban came after the September 18 terror attack that killed 19 Indian soldiers in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir.
Then, the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) also announced it has decided to ban Pakistani artistes and technicians from working in India until the hostilities between the two countries subside.
While several celebrities like Salman Khan, Kangana Ranaut, and Adnan Sami have expressed their views, largely, Bollywood stars as well as Pakistani artistes like Fawad Khan and Atif Aslam who have worked in India, have refrained from commenting.
The “Shaandaar” director also asserted that sometimes people call celebrities to share their views, to add a ‘Bollywood quotient’.
“It is the marketing of that show. Unless you have got a Bollywood personality along with three other people or three Bollywood personalities and one other personality (who actually knows the issue), the shows don’t work,” said the director, who spoke about digital evolution in cinema at Enterprise Digital Transformation Summit 2016 in Mumbai on Thursday.
Talking about how technology has changed the world of cinema, Bahl said: “It has its pros and cons. The plus being that whatever we make it is seen by people anywhere, and it has a much longer shelf life.
“The sad part is that when we start making movies our dream always is that people walk into the theatre to watch it and we make movies for the big screen… So it has got pros and cons and we live with it.”
On the film front, after the Shaandaar debacle, Bahl is busy working on his next – a biopic on Bihar’s innovative educational coaching institute Super 30, and its founder Anand Kumar.
Reports were rife that he will cast Shahid Kapoor as lead in the film. But Bahl refutes all such claims saying that “the script is not ready so getting the artist is far away”.
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