By Muhammad Luqman
Indian minister Babul Supriyo has advocated a complete ban on Pakistani artists in Indian cinema industry, Bollywood.
According to Indian media, Supriyo, a singer-turned-politician, had earlier said that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice in the song Ishtehar from the upcoming movie Welcome To New York must be removed and dubbed by someone else as he was not able to comprehend the need or desire to cross the border for entertainment content at a time when tensions on the India-Pakistan border had escalated.
However, he said, Dil Diyan Gallan sung by Atif Aslam in Tiger Zinda Hai, is a nice song. There is another nice song sung by Atif in Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Noting that the entire issue of banning Pakistani artists began with film-maker Karan Johar’s 2016 film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, he said, “(At that time) I had said that if a film worth Indian rupee 1 billion is made and a lot of money has been put in by our producers that time, an Indian producer will suffer and not the Pakistani actor.
Supriyo , as reported by Indian news channels , said that he spoke as an Indian first and that a stand needs to be made on temporarily banning Pakistani artists in Bollywood.
“Time probably says that we might want to exercise some restraint when it comes to using Pakistani artists in our films,” he said, adding that taking a stand is important and it is now for people of Bollywood to decide.
“I can’t say if it will be a permanent or a temporary stand. It depends on people. I can’t say. I don’t know what the time limit or frame is,” replied Supriyo.
Asked if he will bring in a private members bill to ban Pakistani artists, Supriyo said, “No, I would not do that. What I had said, I said in a public domain. I am not the only parliamentarian, there are more. Everyone is listening.
Vashu Bhagnani, who is producing Welcome To New York, has supported Indian Minister’s campaign, saying that they would spread the message with the help of Suresh Amin, CEO, Indian Films & TV Producers Council.
“We will spread the word in the industry and send notices to everyone that ‘please stop all Pakistani artists’,” he said.