ApunKaChoice : Bollywood


Mahesh BhattCinema bridging the divide between India, Pak
01st May 2006  20.00 IST
By N. K. Deoshi  

Yet another milestone has been laid in promoting the amity between India and Pakistan with the screening of two Indian films in the Pak theatres after a long gap of four decades.

It is said that art succeeds where politics and diplomacy fall short. We saw it in reality in the last week when a host of Indian stars, celebrities and filmmakers descended on the cities of what was once considered "a rival nation" to talk about friendship, peace, mutual cooperation and better exchange of cinema between the two countries.

Two years ago, it was filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and his daughter Pooja Bhatt who blazed the trail and began signing Pakistani artists - actors, singers, musicians - in their movies. Simultaneously, there came Bollywood movies like Veer Zaara that spoke of love between the people of the two nations. And then, Indian and Pakistani actors performed together on stage in the last year's IIFA awards in Amsterdam. Slowly but surely, one could already see the ice breaking.

And now, the gone week has sort of created a history with the screening of two Hindi films, K Asif's classic 'Mughal-e-Azam' and Akbar Khan's Taj Mahal , ending a forty-year-old ban on showing Indian films in Pakistani theatres.

Akbar Khan , Feroz Khan , Fardeen Khan , Zulfi Syed , Sonya Jehan , Manisha Koirala and more Bollywood celebrities were in Pakistani cities for the 'Taj Mahal' premiere.

In fact, Manisha Koirala has already voiced her plans to make a joint Indo-Pak film.

"I am working on just such a project with my Pakistani colleagues. There was a need for more films that promote friendship between the two neighbouring countries and I strongly opposed films that promoted hatred," Manisha told the reporters in Islamabad on Sunday.

Even Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has lauded the development that took place last week. Bachchan didn't go to Pakistan. He is presently in Dubai for the forthcoming IIFA awards.

"We do believe that we (Indians and Pakistanis) are the same culture, the same people. If they are appreciative of our work we are also appreciative of theirs and there should be healthy camaraderie and exchange of ideas and creativity amongst the two nations," Bachchan said in an interview.

Plans are already afoot to have a festival of Pakistani films in India.

Mahesh Bhatt, who has been an ardent supporter of cultural exchange between India and Pakistan, says the two countries have a lot to gain from each other.

"They (Pakistanis) can learn the technical know-how from us, while we can use their immense pool of talented writers, singers and musicians," says Bhatt.

Mahesh Bhatt
Pooja Bhatt
Veer Zaara
Taj Mahal
Akbar Khan
Feroz Khan
Fardeen Khan
Zulfi Syed
Sonya Jehan
Manisha Koirala
Amitabh Bachchan

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