The ban on Pakistani artists in India gains further momentum

As we know, in the aftermath of the terrible Pulwama attack, things between Pakistan and Indian have taken a serious hit on every front including, as always, culture matters.

In the upcoming edition of Shaan-e-Pakistan, set to take place in Lahore next month, Indian artists Rekha Bhardwaj and Harshdeep Kaur will no longer feature; both of them who were originally set to feature in the event, pre-Pulwama attack.

Things have gone up a notch it seems; BCCI in India is hoping to get Pakistan thrown out of the World Cup after stating it’s willing to forfeit the India-Pakistan clash match and having done it in IPL many moons ago.

To take matters worse, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has also entered the fray, with head honcho Raj Thackeray demanding a blanket ban on Indian singers.

“We have verbally communicated to Indian music companies like T-Series, Sony Music, Venus, Tips Music, etc. to not work with Pakistani singers. These companies should stop it immediately or we will take action in our own style,” Amey Khopkar, head of the MNS Chitrapat Sena told Press Trust of India (PTI).

Multiple reports also suggest that T-Series, who apparently collaborated with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam respectively on music recently have “removed their songs [from the company’s YouTube channel] post our warning,” Khopkar alleged.

Other reports suggest that Ajay Devgn is okay with the idea of his film not releasing in Pakistan due to the current heated situation between the countries. Even the invincible Salman Khan, who has worked with Atif Aslam after the 2016 Uri attacks, is getting in line and is supposedly, dropping an Atif Aslam track from an upcoming film called Notebook.

The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) and AICWA (All Indian Cine Workers Association) have also spoken up against working with Indian artists. The AICWA wrote a letter that read, “We’re officially announcing a total ban on Pakistani actors and artists working in film industry. Still, if any organization insist[s] on working with Pakistani artists will be banned by AICWA and strong action will be taken against them.”

And on Sunday, Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit backing FWICE noted, “No Bollywood filmmaker will take any Pakistani artiste in his film. Even music companies will stop working with Pakistani singers. If any filmmaker or music company does not listen to the FWICE (Federation of Western India Cine Employees), we will stop the shooting of any film with Pakistani artistes and vandalise its sets,” he stated.

Other artists like Shah Rukh Khan have expressed grief over the loss of lives and also been caught up in misinformation campaign that stated that he would leave India with the ban in place, which of course, is not true.

With Ajay Devgn’s Total Dhamaal not releasing in Pakistan, some are seeking ban on the screening of Indian films in Pakistan while another online report states Indian films are already not being shown in cinemas in Lahore Cantonment.

Perhaps the only somewhat sane voice has come from actor Sushant Singh, who is General Secretary of the Cine & TV Artistes Association (CINTAA) who noted in one interview, “How do we ban the already banned? No, the first reaction is we shouldn’t allow Pakistani artistes to work in India. Please wake up and look around, the film industry has not been working with Pakistani artistes since the Uri attack.”

He added: “The most important question should be how did this catastrophic intelligence failure and security lapse happen? Not whether Pakistani artistes are working in India.”

Meanwhile, actors including Shaan Shahid, Mawra Hocane and Gohar Rasheed have responded to some of the hate-mongering that has come from within Bollywood, among others.  

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