Mahesh Bhatt has been a strong supporter of Pakistan-India cultural exchange, previously spoke against the ban and now is putting his money where his mouth is.
For his latest project Milne Do, a play on the theme of cross-border peace, Mahesh Bhatt has invited Pakistani artistes Ali Zafar and Shafqat Amanat Ali to sing reports DNA India’s Subhash K Jha. According to his report, Bhatt made a call to Ali Zafar offering him a song. Ali responded favourably. So did Shafqat Amanat Ali who has agreed to contribute a song to Mahesh Bhatt’s endeavour free of cost.
Delhi-based actor Imran Zahid, who is working with Mahesh Bhatt on this project, confirmed the news, “Every Pakistani artiste Bhatt Saab has approached has responded enthusiastically. Shafqat Amanat Ali’s manager said he doesn’t want any money for this song. We are also working on getting Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam on board.”
Zahid believes the ban is inconsequential and will not affect their plans to use Pakistani talent.
“We are going to use the voices of the Pakistani artistes for a play called Milne Do, which will be staged in Delhi on June 8 and Mumbai on June 23. Furthermore, the Indian government has clarified that it has not banned Pakistani artistes. When the Government has taken a clear stand on the issue, what chance do the protesters stand?”
“Bhatt saab is not new to protests,” he continued. “Dialogue with Pakistan must re-start on a cultural level. The Delhi government is supporting our endeavour here in Delhi and in West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has extended support to our mission.”
However, BJP spokesperson Shaina NC doesn’t agree. “Relations with Pakistan have deteriorated to such an extent that there is a move now to declare Pakistan a terror state on an international level. Given the current crisis, I don’t think we can have Pakistani artistes coming here.”