The escalated border tension between India and Pakistan has impacted cultural and sporting exchanges and that is something that many in Bollywood are worried about.
Pakistani singer and actor Ali Zafar’s concert in Pune was cancelled and classical singer Javed Bashir was also told to cancel his concert in Delhi.
Lyricist, screenwriter and poet Prasoon Joshi believes that art should not be hostage to politics – and that artists, in fact, play a part in improving relations.
“I don’t think music should be dragged into politics. I think musicians are beyond that and we have all enjoyed each other’s music and it should always be like that,” said Joshi.
“If musicians can play a role in getting people together, it should be done.”
Joshi, who debuted as film lyricist with Rajkumar Santoshi’s Lajja, has penned songs for several highly successful films, including Hum Tum, Fanaa, Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par, Black and Delhi 6. Joshi in fact believes artists are not capable of hate.
“If you actually talk to artists, you will find they don’t have any hatred in them. They are lovers, they are romantic, they love nature, humanity and if they are not loving, they are not artists,” said Joshi
His views are echoed by another prominent lyricist and poet, Javed Akhtar, who is an advocate of greater people-to-people ties and trade links between India and Pakistan. “We should ideally have a common market, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and so on. There should be exchange of trade, culture, sports, students and so on,” said Akhtar.
“But I am afraid it is not so. Whatever has happened is quite ugly and (it is) totally understandable that people are in an angry frame of mind,” added Akhtar, referring to the escalated tensions after Pakistani troops killed and mutilated the bodies of two Indian soldiers recently.
The tensions have also impacted sport, with Pakistani players in the ongoing Hockey India League being asked to return home.