On February 14th, a van laden with explosives rammed into a CRPF convoy killing 40 soldiers in Pulwama, J&K. Indian media and Bollywood celebs, along with the rest of the country, quickly responded with grief-stricken messages and posts on solidarity. Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi cancelled their trip to Karachi for a ceremony on Kaifi Azmi. Films such as Total Dhamaal and Luka Chuppi were stopped from releasing in Pakistan by distributors and T-Series removed Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s videos from their list. Additionally, the call for a blanket ban on Pakistani artistes has been growing louder by the day.
However, an old video was recently circulated on the internet where Akshay Kumar had this to say about terrorism and Pakistan.
Reporter : Jab terrorism ki baat aati hai tab Pakistan ka naam aata hai. Deshbhakt Kumar (Twin Brother of Navjot Singh Sidhu) : Bilkul nahi! aisa kuch bhi nahi hai isme! Terrorism ki koi country nahi hoti! Terrorism toh India,USA, Australia,Peshawar me bhi hai! pic.twitter.com/ZMab5aVO66— Fake Deshbhakt (@iFlopKhiladi) February 17, 2019
This video that is making rounds was apparently when the spy film Baby (2015) was releasing which also featured Pakistani actor Mikaal Zulfiqaar.
Masala! caught up with Mikaal to get his response on the impact on the Bollywood-Lollywood ties in the wake of the attacks and he had some pretty strong views. Referring to the video, Mikaal said, “I’d totally support what Akshay said, he’s someone I’ve worked with and worked very well with. There was no animosity whatsoever. He is from Punjab and I have a Punjabi background too, so we connected really well.”
However, since 2015, the stances have changed and political battle-cries have escalated. What does Mikaal make of the current situation? “It’s very unfortunate that some people have been making such statements – there is no link between arts and terrorism,” said Mikaal. “We, of course, all condemn terrorism ourselves. We’ve been one of the greatest victims of terrorism. We’ve lost a lot of lives and it has taken us years to eradicate it. I think it’s very sad that people in India are linking art with something like this.”
“But at the same time, this has been going on for a while,” Mikaal continues. “If anything, it has fueled our own passion to grow our own industry and that’s what we’re working towards. All of us are focused on our own market which is growing every day and we’re creating better and better content. I’m not someone who’s always commented on things like these but there are times when you have to stand up. After the allegations, the government has responded as well. They can’t try and single us out like this. We’ve got our own ground to stand on which we will. This is a topic that my latest film, Sherdil, sheds light on as well. So watch out for Sherdil.”
Sherdil releases this year and it stars Armeena Khan and Mikaal along with Hasan Niazi and Sabeeka Imam.