A DAY after the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) passed a unanimous resolution at the annual general meeting, appealing to all their members to “henceforth, not to work with any artistes, singers or technicians from Pakistan until the situation of hostilities between Pakistan and India subsides and the Government of India declares that all is well with Pakistan and India”, actor Salman Khan spoke out against the ban.
Speaking at an event in Delhi on Friday, Khan said, “They are artistes, not terrorists. It’s the government who gives them work permits and visas. Art and terrorism should not be mixed.”
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While he supported the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army, Khan said “the ideal situation would be peace and harmony” between the two countries.
Asked for his reaction on Khan’s statement, BJP National Secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said, “I do not want to comment on what Salman Khan said. But, I think, the entire world stands against terror and the fight against terror has begun. There are many who do not follow or support terrorists. But those who have a fan following and have influence on people should come and condemn terrorists and terrorist activities.
This way you will do justice to your own country.”
Anil Nagrath, secretary of of IMPPA, responded to Khan’s comments, saying while he agrees artistes are not terrorists, Pakistani artistes who are “making money in India” should come forward and condemn acts of terrorism. “No one is asking them to condemn Pakistan. But they should raise their voice against terrorism,” he said.
The resolution taken by the association, said Nagrath, was not a ban but a “request” to Indian producers to refrain from “working with Pakistani artistes, singers or technicians till further instructions”. However, work already done by Pakistani artistes — Fawad Khan in Karan Johar-directed Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Mahira Khan in Rahul Dholakia’s Raees — would not come under the purview of this resolution, he added.
On Thursday, the general body meeting of IMPPA in Mumbai started with its members paying tribute to the Indian army men who were killed in the recent attacks in Pathankot and Uri. “There has been a complete silence on this incident by Pakistani artistes and technicians. After discussions and deliberations, IMPPA members unanimously decided that this silence of Pakistani artistes was an insult and humiliation of our armed forces and the country at large, especially when a good number of Pakistani artistes and technicians work in Indian film industry,” he said.
Incidentally, Laali Ki Shaadi Mein Laddoo Deewana, for which Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan had sung a song that’s to be dropped now and re-recorded in the voice of an Indian singer, is produced by TP Aggarwal, president of IMPPA.
Nagrath said, “No one grudges the success of Pakistani artistes as they are talented. But they should speak up against terror attacks.” Once the situation between the two neighbouring countries normalises, Pakistani artistes might be allowed to work in the Indian film industry once again, he said.
Before Khan, a few other filmmakers too questioned the demand to send Pakistani actors back. Recently, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, while speaking at a film festival, had said, “How would things improve if Fawad Khan is sent back to Pakistan. What are the next five steps you want to take after that?” Singer Mika Singh too said, “There shouldn’t be any boundary musically, but will support the government’s decision.”