Weekday Squib: The limits of neighbourly love

And an egg on the face of Bollywood apologists

When Mahesh Bhatt and his daughter went to Pakistan late last year, they had no qualms in scoring points with the local audience, at India’s expense. What better a forum to criticise human rights violations and atrocities committed by India’s armed forces in Kashmir than the Karachi Press Club. In keeping with the fad of ‘love thy neighbour’ that was at its peak in Bollywood last year, they even signed Meera, a top Pakistani actress for their next release.

And now reality has come crashing down.

The Pakistani government is considering banning Pakistani actors and actresses from appearing in Indian movies after deeming some scenes featuring Lollywood superstar Meera in Mahesh Bhatt’s new film to be vulgar. According to sources, Pakistani actress Meera has some scenes in Mahesh Bhatt’s film Nazar where she is seen kissing an Indian actor. This has prompted the government and the Ministry of Culture to impose a heavy fine on her.

A spokesman for the ministry said that Meera’s actions were against Islamic ethics and moral values. He said Pakistani actors or actresses going abroad were ambassadors of the country, and were not allowed to spread vulgarity, given that they lived in an Islamic state. [Daily Times]

10 thoughts on “Weekday Squib: The limits of neighbourly love”

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  2. What a minute – doesn’t this run counter to the argument that we heard Indian celebrities make last year, that is we are all the same, with no difference between Indians and Pakistanis?

    And why is Bollywood so keen on reaching out to Pakistan? After all, there is Bangladesh, Sri Lanka in the neighborhood as well. Could it be that there is an ample supply of Punjabis to caste in their fair-skinned films?

  3. Although bit racist, I can see why KXB would make such an allegation towards Bollywood. Coz it can be true. Only Bollywood goes overboard to further Indo-Pak relations, especially the Kapoor and Yash Raj banners (they make the biggies). We have enough talent in our country and casting Pakistani actresses who come with strings attached is simply a waste of time. Bhatt deserves it.

  4. America has the same problem with airheaded celebrities. Witness Sean Penn’s trip to Baghdad before the Iraq war. Or Oliver Stone’s trip to Cuba in which he met and praised Castro.

  5. I’m sorry if it came across as racist. Instead, I should say that Bollywood’s obsession with fair skin might be just one of many misguided factors. In a nation where millions are waiting for their big break into show business, for Bollywood to go running across the border for talent seems senseless.

    I’ve read anecdotes that white Westerners who are taking an extended vacation in Bombay can make quick cash working as an extra on a film set. Apparently, having white faces in an Indian film gives it a more “global” feel. Do you think Japanese or African tourists in Bombay will have the same opportunity?

  6. If it is indeed true that Meera was to have kissed an Indian actor, I would say that Mahesh B has been incredibly stupid. His liberal views are not easily digested even by us in India and to push the envelope at a delicate time with an identity challenged people…well – All i can say is he deserves what he gets.

  7. Getting Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Malaysian or even Cuban artists to perform in India is a good idea. Everyone is the better for it. Being open, indeed, welcoming talent from around the world will enrich India, even if it means that it will raise that ‘is there a dearth of talent in India?’ argument. What talent there is could do with competition.

    Even if Mahesh Bhatt and party had visited Pakistan and given an honest ‘liberal’ assessment, he would have still conducted himself honourably. But to speak of ‘atrocities’ and ‘human rights abuses’ perpetrated by Indian forces in Kashmir without mentioning that these occurred in response to Pakistani cross border terrorism and jihad is plainly dishonest.

    Yes, Bhatt deserves it and more.

  8. Well done meera. We r with u. If u can go to movies and act on big screen and everyone watch movies and enjoy them then why this hypocrasy. I just don’t get it.

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