Shah Rukh Khan
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Over the last couple of weeks, following the URI attacks, a lot have been said about Pakistani artists being a part of the Indian entertainment industry. Amidst calls to 'ban' artists from across the border, one of the bodies of film producers, IMPPA, went ahead and decided to ban Pakistani artists. They have gone ahead and sent out circulars to all producers working in the film industry to abide by the same.
We spoke to Mukesh Bhatt, one of the most influential producers in the Hindi film industry, and also the President of The Film and Television Producers Guild for a clearer picture of the entire situation.
Listen, IMPPA is a defunct body. It is Jurassic park with dinosaurs. 99 per cent of people in IMPPA don’t make movies. If there is any representative of the producers, whether you like it or not, it is the Film Producers Guild of India. 99 percent of the films made in the country are made by its members. First, hence let us not talk to defunct associations with non-active producers. Talk to a body which has 99 percent active producers because they will be more relevant in giving a clearer perspective.
Secondly, we are entertainers. Our job is to entertain. We are not political leaders. We booked the talents from across the border because we were told by the then government in power that let us do people to people exchange. And we followed the instructions in the same spirit. The then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said let us create an aura of friendship and togetherness. And people to people relationship would bring in a more harmonious atmosphere in the subcontinent. Keeping that in mind we said we will give you all our support.
Then came the present government into power. Mr. Narendra Modi, our honorable Prime Minister, rightfully on his swearing in ceremony, in good spirit, invited the Prime Minister of Pakistan to set the tone of friendship. Not only that, later on, he flew down to Lahore for the wedding of Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter. These have been very good gestures. It is unfortunate that such good gestures were reciprocated in a negative way by that government. And I applaud the Prime Minister and the army for the surgical strikes. And if tomorrow the Prime Minister and the government in power tell us that we should not in future work with talents from across the country we will respect and follow the instructions. But as of today, there are producers who have signed talents last year and made an investment of over Rs 100 crore, and their films are complete. What is the fault of these producers for an act done by a Pakistani terrorist?
People are attacking producers, asking them to take out actors from the films! You can’t do that. The films are already made. You tell us not to take in future, we will not take! But that has to come from the government only. There can’t be different political outfits saying different things. That will lead to chaos. We have one person to listen to. We will listen to the government in power as they have got the mandate of the country.
Just to take a confirmation, The Producers Guild will follow if a decision is passed by the government of India?
Absolutely! As the president of the Guild, I want to make it very clear to the people we are entertainers. Our job is to entertain and not being political leaders. We respect an honour the requisites off the government.
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