Pakistani actress Mehwish Hayat took a dig at Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra for “spreading hate and giving into jingoism”.
Chopra was called out at the BeautyCon summit in Los Angeles for her hypocrisy by a young woman who asked her to explain her tweet in which she purportedly supported war with Pakistan.
“Chopra’s response to her questioner in LA (“I hear you……. but I am patriotic”), as well as the February tweet, did have the effect of both shining a light on the crisis in Kashmir (despite India’s media blackout and food blockade there), and forcing many of us to think about celebrity activism, its uses — and its abuses,” Hayat said in an op-ed she wrote for CNN.
“Celebrities who act as charity spokespeople should always focus on humanitarianism. Chopra — again, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador — should not be using her voice to legitimize a regime opposed to the values she claims to represent,” she further added.
Hayat who was recently conferred with the Pride of Performance award by the government of Norway in Oslo also spoke about the rise of Islamophobia and the misrepresentation of Muslims in the American and Indian film establishments.
“This is important in Hollywood, but just as much in Bollywood, where the industry has too often been used to fuel hate and Islamophobia.”
“It is difficult, often impossible, for Pakistani actors to find work in India. Pakistan is a Muslim majority nation, and Islamophobia is a top-down industry in India: at the top, hyper-nationalist films, songs and slogans teach the masses to hate. At the grassroots, Muslims have been killed for so-called ‘crimes’, such as eating beef,” Hayat said.
“This makes Chopra’s mistakes potentially all the more costly. Rather than use her position as a US-based celebrity to broaden what it means to be an Indian celebrity, she has fallen into the same jingoistic role that her fellow countrymen are forced to adopt at home, she further said.
Emphasizing the importance of being a celebrity Hayat condemned Chopra for lending her name to “racism dressed up as patriotism”
Hayat also drew attention at the deteriorating situation in Indian Held Kashmir and urged her fellow artists to “focus on human suffering”
“It is human suffering that those with a platform must focus on. It also falls on other film industries, including my own in Pakistan, to counter the negative stereotypes pumped out in Bollywood… That might be less lucrative or effortless than the alternative, but it is what humanity needs to see — on screen, and on the streets.”