Bollywood celebrities slam intolerance towards Pakistanis

Mumbai, Oct 23 (IANS) Numerous Bollywood celebrities have come out in support of the Pakistani artists being targeted by the Shiv Sena, asserting that art and creativity shouldn’t be stifled.

A partner in the ruling alliance in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena forced cancellation of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert here. The Sena activists also said they wouldn’t allow any Pakistani actor, cricketer or performer to step on Maharashtra’s soil.

Reacting to the threat, many Bollywood celebrities who were present at the premiere of the stage musical “The Beauty and The Beast”, said arts and culture should be kept away from politics.

Film director Anurag Basu said: “We don’t know the kind of agenda or reason or pattern behind it. There were some films which released, so where were they at that time? They’ll fall silent again after a year, there is no consistency.”

“This has nothing to do with art and artists. Bollywood has never got affected with this till now and never will. The ethos of India and Bollywood is very strong, which nobody can shatter. And this binds together the whole country. When we go to watch a film in the theatre, you don’t think if the person sitting beside you is a Hindu or a Pakistani.”

“Bajrangi Bhaijaan” film director Kabir Khan said: “I feel that arts and culture should be kept away from politics. Politics is at its place and culture exchange is at its place and above politics. There are numerous actors, singers and performers from Paksitan in our industry. They are a crucial component and they should be allowed to continue being a part of it.”

Actor Emraan Hashmi said: “There should not be any bounds on creativity. we see numerous international stars performing and there shouldn’t be any bounds to that. Creativity shouldn’t be stifled, everyone should be there to express.”

Actress Soha Ali Khan said: “As an artist, as a citizen of the country, I consider it wrong. It’s not what India stands for and that’s not what films and art stand for. So, along with all the authors who’re giving back their awards, so that’s what we need to do.”

Lyricist-singer Swanand Kirkire said: “Shiv Sena is party with a certain viewpoint and I don’t agree to it. Art is the only medium through which we know about the culture of other places. People grow more when there is cultural exchange. It’s just what a party is saying, not what the country says. If it was what the country said, then these artists wouldn’t have been called here. People want to listen to Ghulam Ali.”

Actress Nimrat Kaur said: “It’s a free world and the pleasure of being an artist is that you can perform anywhere and reach out to people anywhere. I come from a democratic bent and I don’t endorse any sort of inhibition on artist being able to perform anywhere. So it is very sad to hear this in any part of the world.”

Director Omung Kumar: “It’s not correct and I think it’ll die down, but this shouldn’t happen. Films could be affected and will get affected but hopefully people are working it out and I think it wouldn’t be for a long time.”

Director Mohit Suri said: “I don’t believe in bans. Art should move freely across.”

Previously, the Shiv Sena has also protested against the cricket matches involving Pakistan team in various parts of the country.

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