Thank God for Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan!

Published: October 20, 2016
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“Why didn’t they specifically mention Kashmir?” is the big question on one side of the border, while the other side is waiting for a mention of the Uri victims. Being a huge drama fan myself, I have no doubt that the minute Asher and Khirad say those words, everything will be okay. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Thank God for Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, their powers are unlimited! Now that they are back in Pakistan, India is safe and the Indian actors whose jobs they took or whose films (see Ajay Devgn) might have flopped because of their magical presence in side roles or extended cameos are even safer.

However, don’t underestimate the power these two extraordinary individuals possess, one tweet from them, one line on Facebook, or just a simple press release and the entire Kashmir issue would be resolved. It is just amazing how selfish they are by holding back, when a little effort on their part would fix a problem that generations of politicians, wars, blood and treasure have not been able to resolve.

After facing a barrage of hostility from a war mongering, hyper-nationalistic Indian press for the crime of being Pakistani, they are now getting a drubbing from the arm chair patriots at home. Instead of supporting our own artists, a lot of Pakistani’s are acting like extras from a surreal adaptation of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Just as the actors’ silence was taken as a sign of complicity, now their short, carefully worded statements are being parsed and forensically analysed for signs of treachery and opportunism.

“Why didn’t they specifically mention Kashmir?” is the big question on one side of the border, while the other side is waiting for a mention of the Uri victims. Being a huge drama fan myself, I have no doubt that the minute Asher and Khirad say those words, everything will be okay. Still, there are the cynical (and rational) who think putting pressure on their respective governments and politicians might be a better idea. To those keyboard warriors: your indignation rings hollow and hypocritical. If your empathy is reserved only for those who look like you, share the same religion as you or are on the same side of the border as you, then you have already failed the basic test of humanity.

Meanwhile, full time patriot and part time actor Shaan Shahid, is posting about how pro Pakistan he is while shooting a remake of an Indian film, Arth 2. If being “pro Pakistan” means wearing tight black T-shirts and putting fellow actors down, then he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. No one is asking (quite rightly) Ali ZafarAtif AslamSaba QamarRahat Fateh Ali KhanMawra HocaneSajal Ali and Adnan Siddiqui who have all worked (or are working) on Indian projects for their opinion on Kashmir or whether they ‘support’ ( another euphemism for ‘are you patriotic enough?’) the army. Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan should not have to face any of these questions either, both have been exemplary ambassadors for brand Pakistan and have done nothing to deserve such scrutiny.

More recently, Afzal, oops I mean Hamza Ali Abbasi weighed in on the topic with a characteristically blunt ‘either you are an Ostrich or you are not an Ostrich – pick a side’ statement. Again, being a huge Pyarey Afzal fan, I agree; moderation is for the weak , and we must all immediately take sides, in a  ‘them verses us’ scenario, because it has been so effective in the past. We’ve had three wars – I’m certain the fourth one will do the trick.

Taking a cue from Hamza Bhai’s interest in Nazi sympathisers, if we must learn something from actual history (as opposed to random Wikipedia articles), perhaps a word from the horse’s mouth might be in order:

Photo: Twitter

The cherry on the cake has to be Amir Liaqat weighing in. This is a man whose greatest contribution to national security is feeding someone mangoes and giving away lawn suites. Perhaps he has forgotten that there is a difference between starring in a three minute trailer as a soldier and actually being one. But, then again, we get the patriots we deserve.

Even more disturbing is Karan Johar’s recent statement of public penance, reminiscent of a badly made hostage video; this maybe the final proof that he should stay away from any attempt at minimalist film noir and stick to opulent Punjabi weddings. His affirmations of patriotism and promises to not work with actors from the ‘neighbouring country’ are a sad climb down from his previous statement about boycotts and bans:

“But this is not a solution. I don’t believe it is. The larger forces have to come together and sort the situation, and this cannot be banning talent or art.”

If only the bullies were so easy to appease. Since this is a new era of movie star diplomacy, perhaps we should ban Ben Affleck or Leonardo di Caprio next time America inadvertently kills the wrong wedding party? In this theatre of the absurd, I fully expect all the nationalists of India to grill Vin Diesel and Tom Cruise about American foreign policy, and prove which side of the LoC they are on vis-à-vis Kashmir. Following this logic, I suppose each time China doesn’t support an Indian initiative, Jackie Chan will pay a heavy price?

Meanwhile, it’s obvious from social media that the average Indian continues to quietly watch their favourite Pakistani Dramas on YouTube while a lot of Pakistanis are waiting for the release of Ae Dil e Mushkil. Trade between the nations continues unabated and no one is putting a stop to that because some very powerful interests would lose a lot of money. So, why not pick an easy target instead? Bans on cross-cultural exchange, whether it is Indian movies or Pakistani actors only increase polarisation and isolation allowing us to dehumanise each other from a cold distance, ceding control of the discourse to certain ‘authorised’ patriots only. It is much easier to bomb, maim, and kill people we can categorise as crazy, violent and extreme than friends with whom we can share stories and jokes with.

The Kashmiri’s that are blinded by pellet guns, the Kashmiri victims of brutality, the victims of terrorism in India, and the victims of terrorism in Pakistan deserve a lot more than the revenge we are exacting by banning each other’s dramas, movies, and actors. This whole ridiculous debate is taking the focus away from the real issues and those that are really suffering. A study of history will show us that rulers like the Roman Emperors often set up irrelevant but grand spectacles to divert the attention of the masses from the real problems at hand. If I didn’t know any better I would say,

Yeh toh mummy ka plan tha.

This was mom’s plan.

Sadaf Haider

Sadaf Haider

The author is a free lance writer, an unserious fan of dramas and films but most of all an observer . She is always looking for an amusing diversion and luckily other people are always willing to provide one. She tweets as @Tomtomatoe (twitter.com/tomtomatoe) She blogs at SadafSays.com

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

  • Sami

    The Karachi based media is going bonkers with certain last names. Unfortunately for the people of the same origins are running Bollywood type media. So only certain people are promoted as heroes.
    The unequal media coverage is now too much. Why only certain actors with certain last names are given too much attention?. The media is trying to make heroes out of certain people and disregarding all others. Media is biased and use discriminatory tactics as well.Recommend

  • Zk

    Indian film faternity has global aspirations but they have a brain the size of a rat. One would never expect such immature behaviour from hollywood as they are far more mature. Recommend

  • Allah Hafiz

    Meanwhile, it’s obvious from social media that the average Indian continues to quietly watch their favourite Pakistani Dramas on YouTube while a lot of Pakistanis are waiting for the release of Ae Dil e Mushkil.

    I beg to differ with u on this..May be some islamic people in India watch pakistani drama,otherwise they garnered trp of less than 1 or around 1.2..you can cross check this fact of u want to confirm..pakis dont have film industry..pakis drama industry is not enough to provide entertainment to people..infact here in UK..all pakis say that bollywood is there film industry to brits..Recommend

  • Fonda

    Why do Pakistanis think their TV shows have pan Indian appeal? Unlike Pakistan, India is a diverse country and besides the Hindi belt, hardly anyone knows who Fawad Khan or Mahira Khan are. The whole world looks to Malala for inspiration while Pakistani PM looks to a Kashmiri terrorist.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz A.

    My sister. you could only mention two names ‘Shaan and Hamza’ to exhibit Pakistani side of nationalism. Do you know the number of Indian artists who have flaunted their nationalism? From Devgan, Akshay, John Abraham, Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Nana Patekar, Sonakshi Sinha, Twinkle, Ritesh etc. not only them but also Indian singers, sportsmen/women and the politicians.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz A.

    Comparing Pakistani nationalism to that of Indian nationalism is like comparing apples with oranges.

    Obviously, you my sister have never engaged with Indian Hindu nationalists. We Pakistanis believe that there is poverty in Pakistan or we Pakistanis can still call our politicians ‘corrupt’ Recommend

  • jssidhoo

    Talking senseRecommend

  • Waqas

    Good oneRecommend

  • Saleem

    These folks are after dollars and would care least about those who provide a safe enviroment in which they and their familes live.Recommend

  • Rajdeep

    Liked the article. Very apt, amusing and also the writing style is sarcastic and hard hitting. Fully agree, the discourse has been taken over by fringe elements and vested interests on both sides.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Let me begin with this story.A drunkard neighbor was living in a neighborhood,He drank often and created ruckus which annoyed all of his neighbors.One day all of them confronted this guy .They gave him two slap and ignored him for rest of the life.This is what pakistan has become for all of her neighbors.Pakistan has herself given all the freedom to India to go after her due to former’s undiplomatic behavior. Remember Rajnath Singh Fiasco.It was just beginning of the show.Why bollywood is targeted is different topic and should be discussed somewhere else.No body cares about fawad and mahira.We were just checking whether these two individuals had enough mettle to take a stand against terrorism.They failed and r back home .Good luk to them.Recommend

  • LS

    What a childish article.. They were asked to go because they could not condemn the terrorist attack when they could condemn Oralando, Paris and what not.. there was dead silence. Why should they be entertained when their loyalties are against the country they work in? It is not the first time that has happened.
    1) Veena Malik – Once the novelty wore off she came back and said bad things about the same industry she worked in
    2) Umar Sharif – Made fun of the people, religion and everything he saw after he was kicked out.
    3) Sabeeka Imam – same thing..

    It seems like there are 1000’s justifications about art, culture and expectation of tolerance. when it comes to India or India’s handling of Islamist or terrorists in the garb of freedom movement or Human rights.. while ignoring the fact that how pakistan has been treating FATA, balochistan, KP , AJK and GB and how thousands of terrorist organizations live there along with their well known leaders who roam free… Yes pointing fingers is easy.. but also remember that when you point a finger at someone 3 are pointing back at you..Recommend

  • LS

    A rat is better than a brain dead zombie.. or a terrorist. India is also home to artists from Srilanka, UK, US, Australia and many more. Pakistan is not the only country. We don’t need people who empathize with Islamist or terrorists when they refuse to condemn the terrorist act in URI despite being asked to do that..Recommend

  • Sadaf

    Thank you And totally agree .. fring elements and empty VasesRecommend

  • Sadaf

    People can be equally virulent on bothe sides . those with closed hearts and minds can rarely change . our job as human beings is to engage with other moderate people not feed into extreme dialoguesRecommend

  • Sadaf

    This piece isnt about Indian artists really its more about how we should at least support our own artisits instead of joining in on teh completely unjustified witch hunt . as to thos artists mentioned there is a thing called karmaRecommend

  • Sadaf

    well I run two sites on pakistani dramas and am continually in touch with Indians on Twitter and Facebook who are watching Pakistani dramas . Just becuase it is beyond your experience it doesnt mean it isnt happeningRecommend

  • Sadaf

    what last names and who ?Recommend

  • abhi

    Rightly said. I tried to watch few of their dramas and didn’t find anything interesting. It is just some hypeRecommend

  • Sadaf

    if you read the article and keep an open mind you will see that there are no pointing fingers except at people who are over reacting . Actors are not responsible for shaping politics and they should not be used to further political agendas . I totally agree with you about terrorism it must be condemned and stopped where ever it is on any side of the border .Recommend

  • Sadaf

    sorry think I already answered
    Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    They condemn Paris & Lundon attacks because the victims are like them 1 Booky with Romanized Semitic names and are not dark brown skinned natives. They will not even condemn if poor Massi AllahRakhi’s kids get blown up.. they will justify it as small sacrifice for Gazwa E Hind and putting in place enslaving Mughlai again.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Urdu is matter of identity, ego shampooing. Bollywood is controlled by Bhaihood, whose headquarter is now in Karachi Defence.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz A.

    To Moderator,

    It would’ve been far better to remove my post , rather than censoring it – which was not only immoral act but also unethical of you [to do so as a ‘moderator’]. Learn the basics of how to moderate comments. Anyways, go ahead, and remove this post once as well (after all, that’s what you’re good at…!).Recommend

  • Allah Rakha

    Can there be any article only about your so called ‘Lollywood’ alone and not include India (Bollywood) or Kashmir in that..?? The answer would be a big NO. So you need Indians to survive, they don’t need you.. simple logic. And as a human being first (because in your country you are taught to be Muslims first) let me ask you this.. why do you need Jammu & Kashmir from India..?? What will you do with it?? Why don’t you go and ask for Afghanistan to be yours, Iran to be yours.. Why only Kashmir (think)?? People on both side wants peace, unfortunately your establishment cannot decide about it till date what they want and why they want. When their ‘What’ and ‘Why’ will be clear, there will not be a Pakistan anymore, because it was created on the basis of hatred against one and only one community.Recommend

  • Allah Rakha

    The artice is about everything ranging from terrorist attacks to Kashmir to Bollywood to Lollywood, depicting shades of nationalistic characters from the movie industry. So frankly speaking, your culture is just like ours and you guys are dependent on our success, but don’t forget your establishment and your media says India and Pakistan are different and are enemy countries. Then why even mention Bollywood or internal Indian politics?? Good luck to your Lollywood without Indian support. If you wanna cry about it go ahead.. whine about it (which anyways you guys are good at). But don’t forget we are enemy nations not friendly nations and it will remain the same way.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Indians don’t need Pakistani actors or actresses, even though your ‘Chaiwala’ is more handsome compared to Fawad Khan!!Recommend

  • LS

    I am NOT talking about Pointing fingers but the assertion she made was wrong that it was because of the conflict. Actors are human beings and the ARE political and they showed it by NOT condemning the terrorist act which they have in the past. So you are wrong.Recommend

  • LS

    It does happen only in Hindi speaking belt of North India.. Anything beyond Maharashtra no one is interested and similarly West Bengal and beyond — no one cares.. Eastern India has no interest in it either so you are left with handful of states who watch it.. Zee Zindagi had a TRP of 1 or 2%..

    OP (Original Poster) also acknowledged that people do watch it but the volume is minuscule. While it is being portrayed as if “Average Indian” watches them on Youtube. There is nothing like “Average Indian”… when it comes to watching content on TV. People like regional stuff more than anything else.Recommend

  • PUSHKAR TYAGI

    Pakistan should also stop all the expertise it provides to bollywood. Recommend

  • Mike

    Mahira Khan HAS become more famous because she got a film with Sharukh (Raees), There is nothing wrong in Pakistani actors working in India. Its about the people and the politicians whole unnecessarily boast about Pakistan’s standing in the world against the Indians. One should see the facts that the world is acknowledging about India’s tremendous growth for the past 70 years. India is number One is most of the international challenges. Regarding the super power we don’t need to broadcast but the world will accept it soon. Pakistani’s Humble yourself its about time for you guys to disintegrate if your behaviour doesnt change, sorry to say that. Fact remains the same in the past. future is in your hands. God bless your contry.Recommend