Art is like a Fragrance

By Atika Abbasi.

The political animosity on account of Kashmir between India-Pakistan is not unusual to anyone. India showed vicious brutalities and carried an uncontrollable butchery in the beautiful valley from the last few months. Pakistan kept condemning the violence in its lower tones while Kashmiris stood unwavering for freedom.  Kashmir survived in the curfew for more than two months which is not apparently taken up. Moreover, food has been stopped on them and there is a shutter down which is loss-making economically. Hundreds have given their precious lives for the freedom of subsequent generations. Hundreds more have been injured while battling for their rights.  In short, life has been made tormenting and torturous for them.

Such political scenario is not new to Indian and Pakistani masses; however, its intensity of acrimony is measured through its influences on relationships of film and drama industry, across the border. The relationship between artists is not recent, Pakistani actors have been performing for Indian Cinema from last few decades. Nevertheless, whenever political relations come to an erratic point Indian masses immediately spew its hostility out.

Indian extremist organisation namely Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Shiv Sena  is always up in arms to threat Pakistani artist and show the other face of India. In the history of Pakistan-India rivalry, Indian extremist organisations have always played the role of catalyst and put down the efforts of Pakistani artist to harmonise the relations. Moreover, Indian artists also have a divided opinion on this account. A part of them show respect and friendly gesture, however, others do not let go any occasion to puke their detestation for Pakistan.

On contrary to all this, Pakistani artists are always earnest to create friendly relations across the border. It is a very good gesture since art must transcend politics. I remember someone said; art is like fragrance which cannot be caged. However, I feel a little uneasy to see such a friendly gesture solely from Pakistan. I believe good relations cannot only be created through one-sided effort. Both parties must be willing to shake hand, but India is showing its reluctance from time to time.

Consequently, the efforts of Pakistani artists to harmonise the relations are always trampled by Indian extremist organisations. Pakistani artists always go to India with the sayings that “we share the same culture, we are of the same origin, there is no difference between our traditions etc”. But Indian seems indisposed to take up opinion some Pakistani artists.

Moreover, Pakistani artists are always desperate to go to India for cinema performance. This is a short run to become a big-name back in their country. However, Pakistani stars always remain a mediocre star in India and fail to outshine Indian superstar. Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Ali Zafar and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan etc all these are rated as megastars in Pakistan but they all prefer to live an average life in India. They do not get it that they cannot beat Indian natives because Indian masses would never put them before their own stars. I do not get it how these stars put their self-esteem down time and again.

On one hand, Indian industry tries to harmonise relations only through projecting their own business. They think that friendly relations can only be created through screening their movies and dramas in Pakistan. But when it comes to them, their extremist organisations come into action. Lately, they have banned “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Raees and Dear Zindagi” as these movies were starring Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan and Ali Zafar respectively. Last year, Bin Roye could not adorn big screen in Maharashtra due to MNS. A little disturbance in the political picture would shut down few Pakistani dramas running there. Similarly, Ghulam Ali’s concert was cancelled due to the pressure of an extremist organisation.

On the other hand, Pakistani media is still not hopeless for harmony; therefore, Indian dramas are still garnering the attention of Pakistani audiences. Few Indian stars, namely Sara Khan and Om Puri were in Pakistan lately but not threatened. Besides, their respect was not tainted by politics and they were not given any ultimatum to leave Pakistan. Om Puri’s movie was also not banned as done by India with Pakistani stars.

In short, I do not urge to have hostile relations with the neighbouring country; however, these relations must be on the basis of equality. Certainly art is like ‘Fragrance’, however, the artist must hold reverence for his art. They must not use it in a place where there  is a strong stench of hatred because there fragrance would not be fitting.

Writer is an English literature student and hails from Islamabad.

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