MNS’ threat to oust Pakistani artists from India divides Bollywood


Radhika Dhawad | Oct 2, 2016 15:33

Pakistani artists
L to R: Salman Khan, Karan Johar, Anupam Kher and Abhijeet Bhattacharya

Pakistani actors, in Bollywood, found themselves in hot water when Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) ordered all the Pakistani artists on Friday, to vacate India, following the tension between both the countries. The recent attacks on Uri in Kashmir triggered the MNS chief Raj Thackeray, who gave a 48-hour ultimatum to Pakistani artists, to leave India, as he felt that these artists had refused to condemn the Uri attack.

According to a report in Dawn, Karan Johar, whose upcoming movie ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,’ is almost on the brink of being banned by the MNS, said, “I understand the anger and the anguish that surround us. I empathise and my heart bleeds for the lost lives. There is nothing that can justify this terrible feeling of terror. Then, you are faced in a situation such as this (asking for ban on Pak artistes). If this was truly a solution, one would take it,” Johar, whose upcoming directorial venture Ae Dil Hai Mushkil stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.

He further added, “But this is not a solution. I don’t believe it is. The larger forces have to come together and sort the situation and this cannot be banning talent or art.”

Salman Khan, not known to mince words, said, “Pakistani artists are not terrorists and they come to India with proper visa and work permit. The tension between the two nations has resulted in the cancellation of Pakistani singers Shafqat Amanat Ali and Atif Aslam’s concerts in Bengaluru and Gurgaon.”

Apart from celebrities like Karan Johar and Salman Khan, even Shahrukh Khan was under attack by some, for roping in Pakistani actress Mahira Khan for his upcoming film Raees.

Veteran actor Suresh Oberoi too protested against MNS’ decision of expelling Pakistani artists by saying that said artists should not be treated like terrorists. He said, “Pakistani artists are also artists and not terrorists. What is their fault in all this?”

The Student of the Year actor Varun Dhawan too had a similar stand to that of his debut film’s director Karan Johar had. Dhawan said, “If by banning actors, terrorism can be stopped then they should do it. That is something the government needs to decide first.”

While these actors strongly opposed to the idea of ousting Pakistani actors, Anupam Kher, who has always voiced his opinion fearlessly in the past, told The Times of India, “It is really important to say that I condemn the unfortunate massacre of Indian soldiers. The Pakistani actors need to do that. We have always shown our goodness and friendship, but at times it is taken as a sign of weakness. There are some people from Pakistan who are wonderful and are great hosts. But when it comes to my country and my soldiers, I cannot be diplomatic. I’m biased towards my country.”

Singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya has been vociferous in his anger against Pakistan. He has called for “ActAgainstPak” and called “Johars, Bhatts, Khans traitors. “Shame on Karan Johar, Mahesh Bhatt for breeding, feeding them,” he wrote on Twitter.

Lata Mangeshkar, who announced that she wouldn’t celebrate her 87th birthday to condemn Uri attacks, said, “I don’t know if I am qualified to comment on such matters or not. But yes, I do wonder why nations don’t keep their own house in order instead of creating havoc in others’ domain. Why hurl bombs at nations? Hatred kills. Why not work on making our own country beautiful?”