Saturday, March 18, 2023
HomeOpinionBollywood loves to hate Pakistan, and Swara Bhasker just proves it

Bollywood loves to hate Pakistan, and Swara Bhasker just proves it

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For actors like Swara Bhasker standing up and speaking out is reserved for favourable context. The liberal Bhasker failed to acknowledge the progress a ‘failing state’ is making.

In a recent interview, Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker brushed off the controversy around the ban on her freshly released movie ‘Veere Di Wedding’ in Pakistan, by calling the neighbour country a ‘failing state’. She also said that she didn’t really expect any better from it. However, unfortunately, we live in an era where the internet ‘remembers what you did last summer’. And like it or not, it comes back to expose you.

Pakistani VJ and actor Urwa Hocane posted a video of this interview with Bhasker’s comments, alongside a snippet from an interview Bhasker gave during her visit to Lahore. Both these clips show the contrasting views of the actor on Pakistan. While the one from Pakistan shows her claiming that Lahore is the best city she has ever visited, the recent one from India shows her belittling Pakistan in an equally passionate manner. “I learnt the word ‘janab’ because I thought I should show some manners here,” she said in Lahore. “Pakistanis have a way worse vocabulary than we do, I know,” she said in her recent interview while arguing against the ban on her movie in Pakistan for strong language.

 In a later tweet, Bhasker, however, said that her “regard and goodwill towards the people of Pakistan remains unchanged”.

So, who is the real Swara Bhasker? Will she please stand up? Or, is the standing up and speaking out just reserved for favourable context? Is political correctness just expected in open letters about the objectification of women in cinema?

If not, then isn’t it also the responsibility of the liberal, feminist actor, Swara Bhasker, to acknowledge the progress that the so-called ‘failing state’ is making? It is the same country, which passed the historic transgender bill in May, according transgender citizens the right to self-identify.

Pakistan has also been setting up special police forces for the protection of women, which are being run by women, and is rapidly building infrastructure.

There is progress. And, it would be foolish to underestimate this progress, not only because of the bilateral ties between the two neighbouring nations, but also because of the Bollywood-loving consumer base in Pakistan one would be losing out on by making such statements.

However, Bhasker isn’t the only one at fault here. We, for instance, love to single out those aspects of the country that can be fetishised.

Many Indians, one would like to believe, prefer listening to Coke Studio Pakistan over Coke Studio India. Even on screen, Pakistani TV shows like ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’ were received as a breath of fresh air against the over-the-top Indian dramas. But when the Uri militant attack took place in September 2016, the film fraternity went ahead and banned all Pakistani actors and singers from working in Bollywood. What kind of justice was that? Seems like it’s convenient for Bollywood to love and hate Pakistan at the same time.

So, if Pakistan banned an Indian film over ‘vulgar language’, remember we banned Pakistani actors from working in Bollywood over their nationality. Not very progressive of us either, right janab?

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  1. I’m a Pakistani and I have a lot of Indian friends.
    They themselves know that the hate between the two extremely beautiful countries is just the media, the political conflicts. If we wanted peace over violence both of them obviously would’ve sorted out a solution to navigate these negative outcomes of the conflict in a peaceful manner. There should be no hate between India and Pakistan. We should spread love and peace, that’s what everyone wants. But I do not know this is getting complicated day by day.

  2. I must say it is such a balanced article. We need more people like you both side of the borders really. I must have to say it is disappointing to see India becoming less liberal and secular. I wish both these countries spent more on human development. Meanwhile, Bangladesh is outdoing them very soon.

  3. The Hindi film industry, like cricket, is a shared passion between India and Pakistan. Not allowed to perform to its full potential as a force for reconciliation because the bilateral relationship is generally more off than on. It would be helpful if Indian actors did not allow themselves to be dragged into the conflict zone. And we now have less to mock Pakistan about than we did earlier.

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