Pak Journo Amber Shamsi On ‘Cultural Proxy War Between India-Pak’

After the ban on Pakistani artistes in Indian films, what does this cultural proxy war mean for India and Pakistan?

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A lot has been said about the ban on the Pakistani actors dictated by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) – a political outfit in Mumbai. Filmmaker Karan Johar, among others has ‘agreed to not hire Pakistani talent for his films’ henceforth.

Like any other one-sided rhetoric, this blanket ban has sent the Pakistani community in a tizzy.

While Vikas Swaroop, the spokesperson for India’s External Affairs Ministry has reiterated that the Indian government has not banned any Pakistani artistes or content, the MNS diktat has vitiated the matter.

The Indian film industry ban has been met on the other side of the border with a ban on Indian films and content being screened within Pakistan.

Senior Pakistani journalist, Amber Rahim Shamsi sheds light on what is happening on the issue across the border.

A Classic Case of ‘He Said, She Said’

The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association has banned Pakistani actors, singers and technicians from working in Indian films.

The organisation’s president, TP Aggarwal, said: “No Pakistani will be hired by their producer members ever.” Other reports stated that it was only a matter of time before the tensions between the two countries subside and that the ban would last only until the two countries resume normal ties.

Fawad Khan. (Photo: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Fawad.Afzal.Khan/photos/pcb.10153549001741708/10153549000231708/?type=3&amp;theater">Facebook.com/FawadKhan</a>)
Fawad Khan. (Photo: Facebook.com/FawadKhan)

Fawad Khan has decided to stay put in Pakistan. Previously, he was to be in India to promote his upcoming multi starer Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. A couple of other Pakistani artistes cancelled their shows anticipating backlash or even violence.

Pakistan has also imposed similar restrictions in their industry. But, the question that no one seems to answer is “why does one industry feed off the other and then expect it to shut its doors when the work is done?”

Artistes, The Exploited Lot

Ashoke Pandit, a producer and IMPPA member, said:

IMPPA paid homage to the martyrs who were killed in Uri. It therefore felt it is its responsibility towards the nation and passed a resolution banning Pakistani actors and technicians in India till normalcy returns. For IMPPA, nation comes first.

The line between politics and art in India is already blurry. Actors, artistes have often been used as decorative pieces by politicians to ensure a visible participation in public rallies and campaign trails, but conveniently deserted in their hour of need. Any political upheaval invariably ends up axing art and culture. If art and politics have been inextricably conjoined in India, then why is the relationship parasitic?

Is there no way that art can remain for art’s sake and not be exploited for the sake of politics?

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