Nawazuddin's manager offered some work: Adnan has 'no regrets' despite hopes for a career in India

Actor shed light on Pakistani dramas appealing to wide audience, the India-Pakistan divide that has impacted artists

Entertainment Desk July 26, 2023

Renowned actor Adnan Siddiqui recently chatted with The Indian Express. The conversation shed light on the secret sauce that makes Pakistani dramas appealing to a wide audience, the India-Pakistan divide that has impacted artists, and his wildly popular 2019 show, Meray Paas Tum Ho, airing in India. 

When asked about how he felt about the show airing in India, Siddiqui said, "It feels like someone is going to watch it in my neighbouring country as well! It already has that fame, where it has gone across the border. It will be a good recall for people to watch the show again. Now it is officially going to be with Zindagi, which will be different as earlier they would be watching the show on different platforms like YouTube."

Talking about the fan-following of local shows in India, the actor recalled a first-hand experience while filming Mom in 2017. "I went to eat somewhere in old Delhi. Boney Kapoor (producer of Mom) told me that I should go with security because people may know me, but I thought who would know me here? So, I went to that place and the kind of fan following I received was a great shock for me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had to call Boney to get me some security, to get out of there. I have always mentioned that our TV shows are like Bollywood films, and our films are like Indian TV shows," remarked the actor. 

Discussing the aforementioned secret sauce that makes Pakistani dramas stand out, Siddiqui retorted, "I can pose the same question to you – how are Indian movies so well made? Why is the romance and everything so perfect? I guess, our forte is TV, which is the biggest medium in Pakistan. We have bigger writers and actors than films. In the early 70s and 80s, our shows were known all over the world.  Our shows are watched in India and Indian movies are watched here. Indian actors are household names in Pakistan. I think my simple answer would be that we have been trained in such a way, that we are automatically bound to some classical shows."

Siddiqui also reminisced about his father wanting to be in India. Recalling an old conversation, the actor spoke about the cultural impact between the two neighbouring countries is the same. He revealed, "When my father was alive, I would ask him, ‘You have lived more in Pakistan, why do you still want to be in India?’ He used to say, ‘My childhood was there, I cannot forget that. It is very nostalgic for me.’ That core emotional value is there which people relate to, that nostalgia…"

When asked if art has the power to ease pain, the beloved star proclaimed, "It has always done that. There is nothing called apolitical. Art has no boundaries, but artists have a certain boundary, which shouldn’t be there. There should be healthy cultural exchange. I believe that the kind of tolerance – pardon me for being so blunt – but our tolerance, in comparison to the Indian audience is much higher. We accept Indian artists and Indian cricketers, we accept everything good about India. But when this thing goes across the border, it becomes very political. I don’t know why."

Continuing further, he recalled, "I remember when I was filming Mom, it was kept very hush-hush because the whole Fawad Khan controversy had happened. Boney was saying that we can’t do interviews or public appearances. This shouldn’t be happening; the responsibility should be taken by both the governments and the political parties, to at least be a little lenient when there is art involved somewhere."

When questioned about the unfair nature of the ban on Pakistani artists in India, Siddiqui revealed that he was hoping to make a career in India. "I was thinking to have my career over there, Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s manager was in touch with me, he was offering me some work over there and I was looking at those also, but then it didn’t happen. No regrets, really," said the actor. 

Asked about the "hypocrisy" of remixing Pakistani songs but now allowing Pakistani talent to perform in India, Siddiqui remarked, "That is because of some people. A majority of people still love us, we love them. But then there is also a political issue there. When it comes to that point, I want to be quiet and not want to say anything. But I keep seeing Indian series, which have done remarkably well in Pakistan as well."

Finally, when asked about the depiction of Pakistani in Indian media, Siddiqui replied, "Just to be more friendly, that’s about it. About acceptance… But then again, I am sure what is being made there, people are enjoying that. After all, in the end, it is a business. So, if it is working for those production houses, then why not, I don’t blame them. It is up to the audience, what they accept or don’t."

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