Why are we banning Saif Ali Khan’s movies but not his commercials?

Published: August 31, 2015
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Adverts such as the Head and Shoulders one starring the infamous Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor and the Pantene ad starring Katrina Kaif run repeatedly on air.

Over the past few years, Pakistan has witnessed a boom in its film and drama industry. This has come as a blessing for most young and struggling actors. Previously, our industry had a handful of skilled actors, the same faces, and barely any room for new talent, which proved to be quite mundane for the audience.

Due to the mass awareness and globalisation, we’ve witnessed the mushrooming of numerous sitcoms starring new and fresh faces, such as Mawra HocaneOsman Khalid ButtHareem FarooqAdeel Hussain and the list goes on. It’s rather refreshing to see that directors and producers have taken it upon themselves to cast novel talent.

At the same time, it’s a bit surprising that we still tend to overlook our local talent when it comes to certain brands. Adverts such as the Head and Shoulders one starring the infamous Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor and the Pantene ad starring Katrina Kaif run repeatedly on air.

But the question is – why is it necessary to hire talent from international industries when our own industry has so much potential?

Are our actors not talented enough or is it that their face won’t be commercial enough to rein in the success these brands are looking for?

Not only is it unfair for our aspiring actors, but it’s also demoralising and demeaning for our industry. In essence, it sends out a message to our local actors that they are not good enough to be casted in local adverts, even though our actors have definitely stepped their game up and deserve every chance and right to be cast in such adverts. I could think of alternative actors who could take Saif Ali Khan’s and Kareena Kapoor’s place in a heartbeat.

We’re quick to jump to accusations and abuses when it comes to banning certain movies, yet those same actors are the stars of certain adverts. In an attempt to stand up for our country, we chose to ban Saif Ali Khan’s movies in Pakistan, yet air his commercials on every channel, every hour – why the hypocrisy?

We tend to place Bollywood actors on pedestals, and if one wants to do that, they have all the right to do it, but let’s not do it at the expense of our own actors and our industry. Maybe it’s time to change our star struck mind-set and give our talent the rights and opportunities they deserve.

Mushal Zaman

Mushal Zaman

The author is a sub-editor at Tribune. She tweets as @MushalZ90 (twitter.com/MushalZ90)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Abhishek Chaturvedi

    first of all u people should clearly know what u want to do…. u r a confused lot …keep crying about indian movies and still watch it ..aisi taisi hypocrisy?? LolRecommend

  • ahmed wanu

    As they say half knowledge is dangerous….So let me give u some knowledge….The head and Shoulders ad and Pantene and many add that are on tv in pakistan are actually made in India and for Indian audience only….these ad are specifically made for indian market….while in other south asian markets these are just on air on tv since they wont take their local actors since u are not much of a market…so take a chill pill…..some brands like Loreal paris and garnier have international ads that features katrina and kareena…and are on tv in more than 150 countries…so take a chill pill….pakistan isn’t much of a market…and these shampoos are not halal at all…Recommend

  • pk

    Because we are biggest hypocrites in world. We always talk with forked tongue. We want Pakistan to be bastion of islam where everybody else is second class citizen, but we demand equal rights when we migrate to other countries.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Leave Saif alone. He is a muslim in India. They are in a tough situation. They have to do what they have to do to survive. We need to move on.Recommend

  • Parvez

    You’ve made a valid point…….implementing it in a market orientated industry would be a long uphill battle………not impossible but difficult.Recommend

  • Jasvinder Singh Marwaha

    Banned his ads also. In fact, ban everything Indian.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Ban tvRecommend

  • doesnt matter

    Even India has ads featuring foreign actors like Nicole Kidman and Gabriel Macht (Suits actor) for watch brands. Hugh Jackman features in ads for Micromax. Loreal and other brands also use foreign actors. Stop being so insecure.Recommend

  • Tariq

    I will not buy any product in which Saif is casted.Recommend

  • Shaistha

    And while you’re at it, please stop dancing on Indian songs for every Mayoun, Dholki, Shaadi, Baraat or Valima.Recommend

  • Shaistha

    And while you’re at it, please stop dancing on Indian songs for every Mayoun, Dholki, Shaadi, Baraat or Valima.Recommend

  • Mohammad

    Honestly… I am not buying any product endorsed by Saif & Kat.Recommend

  • Saad R.

    let’s stop being banistan for a change.Recommend

  • Marketing

    Its sad to see that educated people like you are asking for such things to happen. Don’t you realize that the communication of most MNcs are decided regionally hence ads too are regional ones. This is the reason we see foreign ads being aired not only in the home country but elsewhere as well.

    Little research about ads and communication before writing will add meaning to the article. Don’t write something just for the sake of it, do some research and then write whatever you have to write.Recommend

  • kartikey mishra

    we will be so happy to see banning indian movies,dramas in pakistan
    we also want to ban everything related to pakistan in indiaRecommend

  • Saleem Kapoorwala

    Ohh very good We should have Hafiz saeed in commercials eating live children insteadRecommend

  • Omair

    Lets ban everything, every single thing. Let’s actually ban the banning ability too. Then we will have a society where nothing can offend anyone. Lets ban the ban too!!Recommend

  • abhi

    very valid point.Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    i want all fake liberals to be exported from Pakistan. They are an extra noise in Pakistan. No one takes them seriously. They sit at home all day tweeting anti Pakistan tweets and dont add to the economy as well. #ExportfakeliberalsRecommend

  • abhi

    It will be fun to see Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi along with Shireen Mazari in these commercials.Recommend

  • Smr

    he must be bannedRecommend

  • kdp ukp

    It is matter of popularity and not talentRecommend

  • Stealthy

    Perhaps because of the reason these ads have been on air for quite a long time and don’t have as much effects(if they are banned) as the movies?Recommend

  • Stealthy

    I bet if Huge Jackman ever tried to say anything against India, Indians would be calling for his ban like they often do in case when China does something that is against India’s interests and Indians are like, “Ban All Chinese Products”.Recommend

  • Stealthy

    Well said. Afterall, Patriotism gets more importance in India than the religion.Recommend

  • Guest

    As it should be. Indian Muslims are Indian first, then Muslims. There are some young men and women who were borne in the UK but went off to fight for ISIS. See the difference.Recommend