Pakistan just might not care about the Indian ban on local artists

On February 22, 2018, the Federation Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) agreed to ban Pakistani artists and technicians from working in Indian films and TV serials, in a unanimous vote. Following this, singer-turned-politician Babul Supriyo called for a revised ban on Pakistani artists working in India as well. Indeed, these decisions were made in light of the growing tensions and deteriorating relations between the two countries as of late.

However, time and again, Pakistan’s multi-talented array of performers have proved that their facet of skill and achievements do not need any validation from across the border.

While many artists decided to keep mum on the matter, a few celebrities from the Pakistani film industry took to social media to comment on the ban:

“Finally India banned all type services provided by Pakistanis in Indians cinema industry. Now Let’s See How Do We React and utilise this opportunity to revive our business in Pakistan,” said Shamoon Binzubair Abbasid in a public post on Facebook.

Iffat Umar took to the social media platform as well. “If all the actors unite like the unions all over the world, it will be a matter of just one day. Boycott all the shootings for few days, and demand the channels to stop showing Indian content until its reciprocal. This will mean more work for our local talent, be it actors directors writers technicians whoever is involved in this industry,” she said.

Zaid Ahmed wrote in an Instagram post, “As a Pakistani artist I feel so happy about a step taken by Pakistani state officials. Highlights of our new policy: Establishment of finance fund and a film academy, building of film studios, restoration of the Directorate of Films and Publications, abolition of duty on import of film equipment, film censor fee and sales tax, inclusion of artists in the health scheme, and 70% rebate to foreign film producers on travelling allowance and eatables. According to the policy, only Pakistani films would be screened on national holidays.”

“Pakistan Zindabad! I swear to work harder than ever before and show the world what great cinema we can make just like we are lightyears ahead of (them) in our TV,” he said.

“Thank you for banning us. You have given us a chance to make an Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah and other big stars in Pakistan,” voiced actor Adnan Shah Tipu in a Facebook video.

Tipu went on to say, “Pakistan is my mother. If I say anything to your mother, you will feel offended. Likewise, if you say anything about my mother, will I be ecstatic about it?”

“Go play your game, we will play ours. You’ve banned us. Thank you very much.”

“Pakistan above all,” he concluded.

Published in Daily Times, March 8th 2018.