Pakistani feathers in an Indian cap

Published: January 16, 2013

Is Bollywood better off thanks to
our artists? DESIGN: ANUSHAY FURQAN
KARACHI: 

News of the cancellation of scheduled concerts by Ali Zafar and classical singer Javed Bashir in India in the wake of cross-border tension has sparked fury online.

One commenter on The Express Tribune website called Pakistani artists who work in India “shameless” for wanting to perform across the border after being “humiliated”; another felt that Pakistan should retaliate by banning Indian films and products at home. On Wednesday, however, Ali Zafar took to Twitter with a message for his fans: “Some will keep advocating love and peace, some hate and destruction. It’s been happening since the beginning. Decide which side you [are] on. Don’t be confused.” Another Delhi-based musician Kabir Taneja posted another rational thought: “More collaborations and more power to music,” he wrote. “Can’t put a border between notes.”

Since the 1947 partition, art has been a common chain connecting the two countries. Despite the lines that states draw and erase, a common heritage makes Pakistan one of the most significant markets for Indian entertainment and vice versa. Singers like Ali Haider and Sajjad Ali and recent imports such as Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shafqat Amanat Ali, have been welcomed and celebrated by Bollywood with open arms. Ali Zafar, Sara Loren, Humaima Malik, Meera and Veena Malik have also managed to sign Bollywood films, with Ali Zafar sharing screen space with B-town names such as Katrina Kaif and Imran Khan.

The important question to ask, however, is who is benefitting from these collaborations. Is Bollywood better off thanks to our artists, or do our artists have no hope for fame and money if they don’t take the B-town route?

Judging by the dismal shape of our entertainment industry, it is quite evident that India remains a promising platform for our artists. If things continue to gradually decline for us, perhaps India will be the only way for our talented artists to gain substantial recognition.

But our entertainment industry was not always a failing and suffering entity; in the golden days of the PTV era, Bollywood was yet to grow into the booming industry it is today. Sadly, today our cinema industry is dying and aiming for revival; age-old record labels have stopped producing good music in the form of albums and the local TV industry is competing with foreign content.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam made Pakistan proud when they made waves in the music scene across the border. They gained a fair amount of mainstream recognition, with popular new films featuring songs sung by them, a proof of India’s reliance on our artists.

As far as the actors are concerned, Indian director Madhur Bhandarkar tells The Express Tribune, “Frankly, I don’t care much about Veena, Meera, and Mona Lizza or for that matter any Pakistani actor. But in an industry like Bollywood, everyone should get a fair chance to show their talent and shine, be it from Pakistan or any other country.”

The Indian industry does give opportunities to artists who promise returns on investment. Ali Zafar and Sarah Loren have already entered the market. Keeping Humaima Malik’s appearance and acting skills in mind, she could be the next Pakistani feather in a cap that India is wearing.

Naysayers and critics who frown upon local artists for leaving their country should know that there is no other way out for them, other than to go to a country where there is respect and return for creative interests.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Jan 16, 2013 - 9:25PM

    India has always supported pakistani artists, players, people and politicians without getting anything in return.

    Anyone who excel in their field is welcome in india.

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  • whats in the name
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:33PM

    I am neither an advocate of banning artists from performing or banishing in each others countries’. However I cannot help but think, why is that only Pakistan be given the chance to dictate things and peace. If these 2 beheadings of the Indian Soldiers are not protested, then there is a good chance that tomorrow 20 may happen. This would only embolden the fanatics. There should be some checks and balances. One should not keep violating the sanctity all the time and the other should not have the responsibility to maintain the friendship.
    Regards
    P

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  • Saleem
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:45PM

    Appreciation of artists and athletes from anywhere is a welcome sign however an artist and athletes represents their country and common sense dictates that when serious hostility exists between host and home country patriotism should prevail over money. Pakistani artist are in India for one thing that is money. They should be brave enough to admit it. It is not only artists look at all private TV channels. Most of the commercials have Bollywood movie actors. It is disgusting to see when such harsh words are coming from the other side, artist and athletes are being sent packing and what we do tweet the horn of aman kee asha

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  • Rashid
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:48PM

    Pakistan should take over India. All these banning will be a thing of the past. Red fort and Bollywood belong to the faithful.

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  • gp65.
    Jan 17, 2013 - 12:04AM

    “Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam made Pakistan proud when they made waves in the music scene across the border. They gained a fair amount of mainstream recognition, with popular new films featuring songs sung by them, a proof of India’s reliance on our artists”.

    I am a big fan of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shafqat Amanat Ali. Both of them and Atif Aslam are indeed appreciated by Indians for their talent. But Indian industry does not rely on them or depend on them, There is a difference.

    If Ali Zafar thinks that those who are upset about the Indian soldiers’ beheading are haters, he does not understand Indians.Indians took a stand and came out in the streets for the gang rape victim, to protest the facebook poster arrest, for Anna Hazare’s corruption stance and so on. If there is a problem that the people feel is not getting addressed, in a true democracy, people have to ind non-violent ways to express their feelings and compel the government to take action.

    IT is sad that sportspeople and artistes have been impacted when they had nothing to do with the beheading. But at the same time there has to be a non-violent and civil way to convey the message to the other side that it is NOT BAU. Words are not sufficient since they have been ignored in the past. There have to be actions which convey the intent and feelings of the people without indulging in any kind of violence.

    The maintenance of peace cannot be the onus on just one party i.e. India.

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  • Jan 17, 2013 - 1:08AM

    The people of both nations – including the artists just wish to live in peace and move forward in their lives, the hotheads in both nations need to cease stirring friction, hatred and violence.

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  • dinak
    Jan 17, 2013 - 1:37AM

    @Rashid – Yes, like we took over your entertainment avenues at home. You are soo stupid.

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  • Alexander
    Jan 17, 2013 - 2:41AM

    @Rashid:
    lets not talk another 1971 please….you are already on the edge….all it takes is removing the carpet under

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  • Indian
    Jan 17, 2013 - 2:41AM

    “They gained a fair amount of mainstream recognition, with popular new films featuring songs sung by them, a proof of India’s reliance on our artists…”

    With respect to all Pakistani artists, Indians do not depend on them for their survival. In fact, it is the Pakistani artists who need India for their own survival. India is fortunate to be blessed with so many talented people. A Country which churns out more than 1000 films per year must be self reliant in all aspects…Isn’t It?

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  • Alexander
    Jan 17, 2013 - 2:45AM

    Indian movie or music Industry does NOT rely on your actors. Just if you have any idea how big India cinema is…. also Ali Zafar…charming as he is… is very very small in the impact and gets paid less than some of the regional movie villains!! Just know facts please and do not over blow yourself.
    Indian doctors are 45% in USA but that does NOT mean US is relying on us… USA knows how to get people from else where. Just the mindset of Pakistanis need to change!!! If its not your country it has to be a muslim…please grow up and know where the world is.

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  • ahmed
    Jan 17, 2013 - 4:49AM

    India should know that Pakistani soldier ‘s and policemen ‘s get beheaded and their body’s gets dump every day and no one gives a hoot either the Army brass, politicians and civil society and NGOS so why are they surprised that there was no reaction in Pakistan. Dead bodies are a norm in Pakistan now.
    India is acting as a uncivilized bully. It rejected a very reasoned Pakistani request to have the issue investigated by the UN a neutral body because perhaps Pakistan has nothing to do with it. We can’t imagine any Muslim soldiers esp Pakistan engaged in this kind of inhumane action of another soldier because they respect each other professionally.
    Artists should be free to practice craft but India mostly a narrow minded communal society except Bangluru, Kolkatta and Delhi it is very provincial and backward. They were living in thirteen century now they can’t face 21st as you see in News every day.
    Pakistan has enough talent to further develop our tv plays and try to make good movies that are not Masala and hopefully we can develop an indigenous industry for our artists. India will always be backward and every time we sneeze they will get sick. They have this mentality and now they think they are a big super power bigger then USA and China…They forget that even USA couldn’t defeat taliban and Iraq insurgents it had to pay them to save its soldiers,

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  • Insaan
    Jan 17, 2013 - 5:04AM

    @Rashid: Pakistan should take over India. All these banning will be a thing of the past. Red fort and Bollywood belong to the faithful.

    People like you belong to Agra.

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  • jagjit sidhoo.
    Jan 17, 2013 - 8:28AM

    @ahmed:”India should know that Pakistani soldier ‘s and policemen ‘s get beheaded and their body’s gets dump every day and no one gives a hoot either the Army brass, politicians and civil society and NGOS so why are they surprised that there was no reaction in Pakistan. Dead bodies are a norm in Pakistan now.” That is civilized and “India is acting as a uncivilized bully”because we do not accept beheading . How logical !!

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  • ASISH RATH
    Jan 17, 2013 - 10:05AM

    @Rashid: Dun cross the limits,Try to learn the Indian way to achieve success story for the betterment of ur people,dun stare @us otherwise u will b disappear from the map.

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  • DarKnight
    Jan 17, 2013 - 10:30AM

    @Rashid:

    What if, if it happens other way round………already it is happening

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  • Super Star
    Jan 17, 2013 - 11:06AM

    “India should know that Pakistani soldier ‘s and policemen ‘s get beheaded and their body’s gets dump every day and no one gives a hoot either the Army brass, politicians and civil society and NGOS so why are they surprised that there was no reaction in Pakistan. Dead bodies are a norm in Pakistan now.”"

    You yourself give such an example of Pakistan and then say India is an uncivilized bully because we protest against such barbarism ? Who is in 13th century mindset going by your own example India / Pakistan?

    You are a confused nation.

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  • bilal
    Jan 17, 2013 - 11:54AM

    Its true that every family member should have a mobile phone remain connected with each other. But it has been a policy matter in our country to block the mobile services for security issues in the days of processions etc. To be safe now it’s clearly wise to keep a landline in homes and offices, as only landline is communication source which remains active in all the cases and situations in our country. Really, this landline has proved its glory in today’s Pakistan era.

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  • Daniel
    Jan 17, 2013 - 12:18PM

    Some of the comments of pakistanis hurt me very much. We Indians always welcome pakistani artists and love and respect them.

    When an Indian music composer composes an excellent number, he can ask an Indian or pakistani to sing it. If he gives a chance to a pakistani, then pakistanis must acknowledge his big heartedness and appreciate it. When this song becomes a big hit you should remember that even if an indian sings this beautiful composition, it will be a hit.

    Before Atif and Rahat started singing in bollywood there were lots and lots of beautiful and hit songs in India (pakistanis will accept that). So it is not India who is dependant on pakistanis, it is pakistanis who are given an opputunity to shine in India. We always respect them, so instead of writing arrogant comments, kindly accept and appreciate indians. Thanks.

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  • Daniel
    Jan 17, 2013 - 12:49PM

    Some of the comments of pakistanis hurt me very much. We Indians always welcome pakistani artists and love and respect them.

    When an Indian music composer composes an excellent number, he can ask an Indian or pakistani to sing it. If he gives a chance to a pakistani, then pakistanis must acknowledge his big heartedness and appreciate it. When this song becomes a big hit you should remember that even if an indian sings this beautiful composition, it will be a hit.

    Before Atif and Rahat Ali started singing in bollywood there were lots and lots of beautiful and hit songs in India (pakistanis will accept that). So it is not India who is dependant on pakistanis, it is pakistanis who are given an opputunity to shine in India. We always respect them, so instead of writing arrogant comments, kindly accept and appreciate indians. Thanks.

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  • A.M.Khan
    Jan 17, 2013 - 1:13PM

    But Pakistani Channels are banned in India. India would not do anything to profit Pakistan. It is not a bilateral action.

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  • Janu Kapati
    Jan 17, 2013 - 1:36PM

    Please, every body .. India is the most civilized, tolerant, cooperative, super power and all that is good in the world. It has never in its being has been an aggressor, undoubtedly the most innocent nation in the world. …… Please can I laugh now?

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  • salmanzq
    Jan 17, 2013 - 1:45PM

    As a Pakistani, I’m thankful to India for promoting and giving opportunities to our artists. In the absence of any support or industry in our whole country, what are these people to do? It’s a shame if we don’t appreciate the help we are getting from across the border.

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  • loyal tribune reader
    Jan 17, 2013 - 2:04PM

    @Daniel:
    I agree but its not just big heartedness..There is more economic return too:)

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  • unbeliever
    Jan 17, 2013 - 2:51PM

    Indeed pakistani actora and singers have carved theor own niche in India.
    And they are going about their life very comfortably.
    But indians are also not going to tolerate such blatant disregard of their soldiers.
    And pakistani singers did introduce to indian audience some very excellent sufi renditions.
    And yes they may be from pakistan but are shining in India.Recommend

  • SAM
    Jan 17, 2013 - 3:16PM

    as a Pakistani,i just said that our artists should come back to Pakistan…..b’coz the millap of india and PAKISTAN will never be created,as we saw…..everyday,no speacial matters to be happens b/w us by which these two nations will be friends…..so enjoy the life in ur own country…..

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  • Sudheer
    Jan 17, 2013 - 5:31PM

    @ahmed, You wrote,
    India mostly a narrow minded communal society except Bangluru, Kolkatta and Delhi it is very provincial and backward. They were living in thirteen century now they can’t face 21st as you see in News every day.
    Now let us see who is living in which century. Because you disapproved the outraged expressed by Indian people at the beheading of their soldiers with following words:
    India should know that Pakistani soldier ‘s and policemen ‘s get beheaded and their body’s gets dump every day and no one gives a hoot either the Army brass, politicians and civil society and NGOS so why are they surprised that there was no reaction in Pakistan. Dead bodies are a norm in Pakistan now.
    Wow, this is coming from a citizen supposedly living in a most civilized society and a country of the 21st century!!
    I thank god for keeping us Indians in the 13th century!!

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  • Karella
    Jan 17, 2013 - 6:11PM

    Given that Pakistan has more jingoistic people and warmongers than India per capita.
    Given that Pakistan has a history of creating foment in India, and to a lesser extent India in Pakistan.

    Yet the current situation is not that simple. All reports indicate that Indian soldiers killed Pakistani Soldiers first. If you are angry how Pakistan retaliated, at least have the courtesy to acknowledge that we retaliated. The act of beheading is gruesome and if true, cannot be condoned. But if reports are to be believed, Pakistani death toll is higher than the Indian side. On a purely factual analysis, the ceasefire was violated by Indians first. That puts the onus of fault on them. And they did not agree to an independent UN investigation either, which puts doubt on their side of the investigation. If us Pakistanis were lying, this would have been an ideal opportunity to have a third party validate it.

    But none of this is the fault of our Artists and Hockey Players. By no stretch of imagination should they have been subject to this anger. Like it or not, perpetual peace is the only final solution between the two countries. I hardly ever say this, but Pakistani leadership and media has shown a lot more maturity in this case than the Indian counterparts.

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  • ahmed
    Jan 17, 2013 - 7:39PM

    @Sudheer and others we can always count on Indians to never get to bottom of the things…you guys like to excel in exaggeration. Pakistan is at perpetual war because of our Army and politicians and there is a difference between our soldiers and yours who have no morals. It was your soldiers who started mutilating bodies of our soldiers.
    Here is narration by Barkha Dutt of your soldier glorious deed as reported in Dawn by J. Naqvi ”
    I had to look three times to make sure I was seeing right. Balanced on one knee, in a tiny alley behind the army’s administrative offices, I was peering through a hole in a corrugated tin sheet. At first glance, all I could see were some leaves. I looked harder and amidst all the green, there was a hint of black — it looked like a moustache. ‘Look again,’ said the army colonel, in a tone that betrayed suppressed excitement. This time, I finally saw. It was a head, the disembodied face of a slain soldier nailed onto a tree. ‘The boys got it as a gift for the brigade,’ said the colonel, softly, but proudly.”
    No one Pakistan can imagine that our soldiers would engage in this kind of criminal behavior.
    We are at war with insurgents who are not Pakistan Army and India is training them we have proof of their involvement so beheading of our soldiers shows the criminal mindset of Indians rather then Pakistan society. We are not 13th century and we don’t have superiority complex and we don’t go and burn the inhabitants of every minority community indiscriminately from New Delhi to Gujarat with direct involvement of the state as was done to Sikhs, Christians and Muslims. We are not perfect nation but as you can see from this board Pakistan is not blood thirsty narrow minded communal society as yours is. You should know and we should too there was no smarter politician in subcontinent (Wolpert) if he felt we can’t get along with you then it is about we Pakistanis respect that.

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  • Sam
    Jan 17, 2013 - 7:57PM

    @Vishnu Dutta:

    I diagree with you and this is not one sided affair.

    Pakistani artisits and players are very talented and Indian people get to see better entertainment and promoters cash-in tons of money.

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  • Sam
    Jan 17, 2013 - 8:02PM

    Burringing of samjhota express. how those poor people died? there were charred bodies. Then people were butcherd in Gujrat – where was tough Indian Govt stand there?

    And yet Indian hippocrates target Pakistan.

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  • G. Din
    Jan 18, 2013 - 12:46AM

    @Sam: to Vishnu Dutta
    “Pakistani artisits and players are very talented “
    All the more reason that you keep them home. They are like family jewels, best kept in a safety deposit box until you are ready to use them. There is no Indian cap that uses feathers as an adornment. So, we really don’t need them. Weave your own cap and then adorn it with those”feathers”.
    I am saying this because before long Pakistani trolls will be howling that Pakistani artists cannot even get a place to stay in India. If our own Shabana Azmi has problems renting an apartment, imagine what luck shall these guys and gals have in doing so!
    Today’s news: Pakistanis who were participating in an expo in Hyderabad closed their stalls and left for their homes, at their own request.
    @Insaan: to Rashid
    “People like you belong to Agra.”
    He probably will not understand unless you tell him that Agra has a big insane asylum from British times!

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  • Insaan
    Jan 18, 2013 - 2:37AM

    @ahmed: “India is acting as a uncivilized bully. It rejected a very reasoned Pakistani request to have the issue investigated by the UN a neutral body because perhaps Pakistan has nothing to do with it.”

    Pakistan planners make sure no one can find out who killed Indians at the border or any other Pakistani terrorist attack in India. Ten terrorists from Pakistan attacked Bombay on 26/11 and killed 40 INDIAN Muslims and 124 non-Muslims from 12 NATIONS.

    Pakistani terrorists prete3nded to be Hindus and carried ID cards with Hindu names and some wore Hindu religious threads Even David Headley (Dawood Gilani) and Rana caught in USA have claimed LeT and ISI was involved in Bombay attacks. Pakistan government or any International organizations have done nothing to people from ISI and LeT involved in the Bombay attacks.

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  • Anannya
    Jan 18, 2013 - 10:30AM

    @ahmed
    Somebody once said, “Stupidity produces antibodies“. And in the outbreak of your present convulsion, I do count on that. By the way, I don’t know why I am so sure that you won’t get the joke.

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  • ahmed
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:41AM

    @Anannya:
    This is precisely how I would describe the whole Indian nation, a servant nation now doesn’t know how to deal with liberty..

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  • Xi
    Jan 27, 2013 - 7:02PM

    “If things continue to gradually decline for us, perhaps India will be the only way for our talented artists to gain substantial recognition.”

    Why just India, why not other countries too? Just because our artists are too lazy to get up off their behinds and learn the languages of Pakistan’s other neighbors? Since the Pakistani domestic market is so small and the Indian market is too uncertain and capricious for Pakistani artists to meaningfully thrive in, it is only logical for them to enter the Middle Eastern, Turkish and South East Asian markets and release records there in those countries’ respective languages. That’s exactly how South Korean artists have operated in Japan and the Chinese-speaking world, for exactly the reason that their home market couldn’t sustain them alone.

    Just as staying limited within our domestic market is a bad idea, relying on the Indian market alone is just as inadvisable. There has to be greater diversity of markets for our artists to operate in. Besides, this whole valuation of the Indian market is based on broad “potential” instead of looking at how much Pakistani artists are actually making there.

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