The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association has banned Pakistani actors, singers and technicians from working on Indian films. Not only did they ban all Pakistani artists but singer-turned-politician Babul Supriyo objected to the selection of the song Ishtehaar sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for a film titled Welcome to New York. Supriyo went on to add, “Our soldiers are being killed. At a time when we have cornered Pakistan, if we can stop Pakistani players playing in the IPL, maybe it would have been nice if Bollywood showed solidarity and took a stand”.
The organization’s president, TP Aggarwal, said: “No Pakistani will be hired by their producer members forever.”
Despite the bans, Bollywood has continued to use Pakistani artists. Bhagnani might have apologized, but he has neither pulled the song off, nor changed Rahat’s voice. Ajay Devgan’s upcoming film Raid, and Sudhir Mishra’s Daas Dev features a song by Atif Aslam and both haven’t hinted at looking for replacements.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday deplored India over “pervading extremism and anti-Pakistan prejudice.” The ministry further said, “It is unfortunate that art and cinema, which bring people together by acting as cultural bridges, are being held hostage to hate and xenophobia.”