Sunday Levity: Unintended consequences of people-to-people contacts

Don’t want to go back!

Mahesh Bhatt’s film Nazar, was made at the height of Bollywood’s love affair with Pakistan. Getting Meera, a Pakistani actress to kiss Ashmit Patel, and Indian actor challenged social sensibilities in Pakistan (kissing an Indian actor) and celluloid sensibilities in India (kissing a Pakistani actress). The resulting controversy over the movie may be less responsible than parental insistence that Meera marry a ‘good boy’ and ‘settle down’, but Meera just decided that she may just as well quit Pakistan and move to India.

One of Pakistan’s biggest movie actresses is risking the ultimate in south Asian controversy – by moving to India. To Pakistani dismay, Meera has announced that she is relocating to Bombay to further her career. But Meera is already a controversial figure in Pakistan, as well known for a notorious kissing scene as for her acting talents.

Earlier this year, Meera said she had received death threats and demanded government protection after a scene in her debut film across the border in India, in which she kisses the actor Ashmit Patel. Kissing in public is not considered acceptable in conservative Islamic Pakistan.

But this time Meera has gone further, by announcing she intends to move to the far more liberal Bombay. Some in India hailed her move as evidence of the thaw in relations between India and Pakistan – it would not have been possible a few years ago – but it will not be seen that way in Pakistan. Ordinary Pakistanis have not reacted well to scenes of some of their biggest stars living the high life in India’s entertainment capital. [The Independent]

People-to-people have succeeded indeed. Rather too well, in fact. Ask those cricket fans.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Levity: Unintended consequences of people-to-people contacts”

  1. Meera’s wanting to defect to India gave me a bright idea. We should institute an H1B-like program for Pakistani professionals wanting to work in India (and no, I’m not being altruistic here). I think it could have very interesting side-effects.

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