Bollywood divided: Karan Johar backs presence of Pakistani actors
"I understand the anger and the anguish that surround us and I empathise, 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)....," the director told a news channel.
As the heat over the presence of Pakistani actors in Bollywood grows with the threat from the MNS, Bollywood seems to be deeply divided over the issue. Director Karan Johar and veteran actor Suresh Oberoi have expressed their anguish over the MNS threat to Pakistani artists to leave India, saying ban is not a solution to terrorism.
Johar, whose upcoming directorial venture "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, says his heart bleeds for the lives lost in the Uri terror attack and he understands the anger in the country, but boycotting artistes from the neighboring country is no solution to terrorism.
"I understand the anger and the anguish that surround us and I empathise, 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," the director told a news channel.
"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," he adds.
Veteran actor Suresh Oberoi said artists should not be treated like terrorists. "Pakistani artists are also artists, not terrorists. What is their fault in all this," he asks.
In the wake of Uri terror attack, the Raj Thackeray-led MNS had asked Pakistani actors to leave India immediately, failing which the shooting of their movies will be stalled.
The party even issued an open letter and questioned Bollywood producers over their decision to cast Pakistani actors in their films.
Before Johar and Oberoi, taking a jibe at MNS, director Hansal Mehta had tweeted, "MNS for next central govt. In one master stroke they have solved the India Pakistan problem. After all it is artistes, who provoke attacks."
Voicing his opinion, filmmaker Vikram Bhatt said that India should push for declaring Pakistan as a terrorist state, but should not drag actors into the situation.
"We should concentrate on making sure that Pakistan is declared a terrorist state. That should be our effort. This (asking Pak actors to leave) is like trivialising the issue-- whether artists or cricket should be allowed nor not...
"How does that matter? What matters is that people are dying, we have been constantly suffering... And the only thing we do is ban artists," he said.
Film critic Mayank Shekhar also criticised MNS saying culture is apolitical and when the government has given permission to Pakistani actors to work here, any other political outfit should not "spread fear" among people.
Meanwhile, comedian Raju Srivastava has cancelled his upcoming show in Karachi, saying he can't be making jokes and be funny at a time when Indian soldiers are getting killed.
"I was invited to do a comedy show in Pakistan but every day we see that our soldiers are getting killed at the border. In this situation how can I go and make people laugh there? I don't want to go to Pakistan. Our country is good. Here we have brotherhood, respect and love. We are happy here. I won't go to Pakistan to do the show," he wrote on Twitter.