It’s a pity Indian filmmakers do not shoot in Karachi, says Mahesh Bhatt

Published: September 15, 2015
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Indian filmmaker hopes to drive move towards better relations between India, Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

Indian filmmaker hopes to drive move towards better relations between India, Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: It is a pity that Indian filmmakers do not shoot in Karachi, Lahore and Murree despite cultural and aesthetic similarities between India and Pakistan, said filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt on Monday.

The Indian director was speaking via Skype during a session organised by the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy’s (PIPFPD) Sindh Chapter.

The event was aimed at discussing possible options for establishing peace between the two countries.

“We need to continue to adopt a fierce commitment to maintain love and peace,” he said. “We are in a much better position today than we were before. Bollywood is equally popular on both sides of the border. This is a strong indicator of our collective interests.”

According to Bhatt, consistent attempts have been made to sabotage the peace process and such sentiments have often permeated into Indian cinema. “Our censor board does not issue certificates to films that capitalise on this narrative of hatred,” he said. “Moreover, some of these films have not performed too well on the box office. When hate won’t sell, it will eventually die down.”

The director drew attention to the fact that people in India, who throw their weight behind the peace process are touted, as ‘anti-Indian’. “The truth is, India lacks the audacity to undertake such peace initiatives because we choose to play safe,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Sindhi writer and columnist Amar Jaleel recalled the early years of his life, which were spent in an undivided India. “I am a born Indian living in Pakistan,” he said.

“At school, we used to recite poetry written by Rabindranath Tagore and Allama Iqbal that taught us how to love our motherland. However, in 1947, our motherland was divided into two.”

Jaleel pointed out how, nearly 70 years on, the children of this motherland have been left to pick up the pieces. “The restlessness has been transferred through the generations,” he said.

According to Jaleel, historians have presented a distorted view of Partition. “History should be learnt from literature of the era rather than history textbooks,” he said. “We have been told that our forefathers rendered sacrifices for the country. However, we don’t realise the implications of this. The descendants of those who made these sacrifices have grown up with a false sense of superiority.”

Jaleel insisted that peaceful relations between India and Pakistan can only be achieved if we look beyond the borders. “We should aim to be like clouds that know no boundaries and cannot be stopped from drifting through the sky,” he added. “Both countries need to develop a sense of sanity.”

Addressing participants via Skype, Jatin Desai, a journalist in Ahmedabad, said recent attempts by both countries to put an end to cross-border tension is a sign of progress.

“However, we need to go the extra mile and explore other avenues of cooperation,” he said. “Trade is a good starting point. We must remember that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi represent the corporate while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif comes from a business background. This could work towards the advantage of both countries.”

Prior to the discussion, a series of performances were organised by Tehrik-e-Niswan. While reading a passage from Nighat Sultana’s Delhi se Lahore, the elocutionist misquoted the name of Saadat Hassan Manto’s fabled character in Toba Tek Singh Bishan Singh as Toba Tek Singh. The error was corrected by Jaleel.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Sharath Chandra
    Sep 15, 2015 - 9:39AM

    But Pakistan has said Kashmir issue needs to be solved first.Recommend

  • Pakistani Dude
    Sep 15, 2015 - 10:29AM

    @Sharath Chandra:
    If only India can develop the ability to understand.Recommend

  • Anshul
    Sep 15, 2015 - 10:57AM

    Because filmmakers know the fact verywell non state actors will make film shooting in bullet shooting. Recommend

  • Shahid Khan
    Sep 15, 2015 - 11:33AM

    I highly appreciate the undying sentiments of togetherness and support of friendliness between the two countries, of Mahesh Sahib. Regardless of all bitterness created by the benefactors of hostility and war, he keeps on preaching unconditional love and friendship between the two people. I wish his dream comes true one day when we’ve learned to live like peaceful and friendly neighbors helping each other through times to come for our future generations. Recommend

  • Vicky
    Sep 15, 2015 - 12:21PM

    First Pakistan should revive it’s film industry and organise few international sports tournaments, then expect others to visit pakRecommend

  • Sameer
    Sep 15, 2015 - 12:26PM

    Sorry but apart from 3-4 north indian Hindi speaking states, rest 80% India have no connection with pak , and they don’t relate themselves with PakRecommend

  • Timorlane
    Sep 15, 2015 - 12:40PM

    There’s no cultural and aesthetic similarity between us and those who
    choose butcher of gujarat as their prime minister.

    We neither want indian films not their makers.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Sep 15, 2015 - 1:16PM

    @Pakistani Dude:
    “If only India can develop the ability to understand.”
    If only Pakistan’s establishment had ability to understand. Its still living in Jurassic age.Recommend

  • Shahid Khan
    Sep 15, 2015 - 1:26PM

    Unless we learn to live happily together like a decent family despite differences, peace could not be achieved. Its all the same, they have their fanatics, we have ours, who are currently leading us into mayhem and despair on both sides. Wars only destroy.Recommend

  • XY
    Sep 15, 2015 - 2:44PM

    @Tony Singh “If only Pakistan’s establishment had ability to understand. Its still living in Jurassic age”.

    Yeah, with the thriving rape culture, caste system and extremism, you guys have definitely landed in the modern age.Recommend

  • pakistani
    Sep 15, 2015 - 3:06PM

    He would be welcomed.
    Thank you for saying that.
    I wish more Indians came to Pakistan.
    Those who visit, always return with an independent / positive view
    We need to figure our how to solve Kashmir issue (mainly for the Kashmiris sake, but also so India ad Pakistan can move on).Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Sep 15, 2015 - 3:29PM

    What exactly is to be found in Karachi to offer itself as suitable background for an Indian film shoot ?? Apart from the beach areas and maybe Dolmen Mall, the rest of the place looks like a scene from the aftermath of WW3. Maybe that’s what they’re after…? Better Lahore or Islamabad.Recommend

  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Sep 15, 2015 - 5:29PM

    Mr.Bhatt – you are a film-maker! Are you not? So how about walking the talk?Recommend

  • Faraz
    Sep 15, 2015 - 5:49PM

    @Rollin & Trollin: Lol
    Karachi have many things for exploring, have you ever visited the French & Russian beaches? the old city of Karachi including Bohra Bazar, Sadder, Pakistan Chowk and many other congested areas resemble to Delhi.
    Secondly Karachi is gateway to Sindh, so many historical & archeological places are easily assessable through KarachiRecommend

  • Omar
    Sep 15, 2015 - 8:51PM

    ” with the thriving rape culture, caste system and extremism,”

    @XY
    I’m ok criticizing Indian trolls. But isn’t it a stretch to pretend Caste system does not exist among Muslims of India and Pakistan? We don’t even have to get into the racism of skin color and who has claims of Arab origin, etc. Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Sep 16, 2015 - 1:43AM

    Mr Bhatt, you only have to look at cricket teams whether they want to play in Pakistan. Same logic applies to film shooters – nobody wants to return to their homeland in body bags which if you remember the Sri Lankans nearly did.
    What you are witnessing is the continued isolation of Pakistan (also called Land of the Pure). Recommend

  • Asok
    Sep 16, 2015 - 2:26AM

    Ah, OK. Let us send your son Rahul’s friend, Dawood Gilani, to do the location scouting.Recommend

  • Weirdity
    Sep 16, 2015 - 6:04AM

    Because Karachi will shoot at them.Recommend

  • wiserneighbour
    Sep 21, 2015 - 8:10AM

    @XY, In Rape,You don’t even spare your kids!If you are gloating about your lack of caste system, just glance through your matrimonial ads.Recommend

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