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Mr Devgn, Thank You for Banning Your movies in Pakistan

Mr Devgn,

The de facto relation between people of both the countries does not require me to start my open letter with formal politeness, therefore I would prefer coming straight to the point.

No one can deny the fact that all Bollywood stars have huge fan following here in Pakistan as well. It is a reality that we look forward to your films and get entertained by them. We too, like people belonging to other nationalities, idealise your characters and see the messages you try to convey through them eye to eye. Your role in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was admired by every girl in Pakistan as well, and your portrayal of a police cop in Singham series is what has set an image in our minds of how a cop should look and behave. In short, you and your fraternity has admirers on this side of the border as well, and lots of them. Yet, you chose to lash out your anger on the whole Pakistani nation as if terrorists are birthed and bred in every single household of Pakistan.

Also read: India Bans Pakistani Actors, Musicians After Pulwama Attack

It was a bunch of militants who attacked your soldiers and whom you ‘accuse’ of having received training and funding from Pakistan. The level to which every realm in India has stooped makes us wonder the following: 1) Release of Indian movies has been banned in Pakistan as if militants show your Diljale, Phantom and Ek Tha Tiger to their kids for their grooming and training; 2) Your cricketers have openly expressed their hatred towards Pakistan by showing unwillingness to share the field with Pakistani players in any event as if we send militants disguised as cricketers and they throw grenades at your batsmen instead of cricket ball; 3) Your top veteran actors declined the invitation of gracing a literary event organised in honour of Kaifi Azmi as if the poet had propagated the message of war and extremism in his works; 4) Pakistani artists have been banned from working in India as if they smuggle militants along with them in their suitcases; 5) Your media is incessantly spitting venom against Pakistan as if the whole Pakistani nation had conspired against your soldiers.

But what gain did we potentially get out of this mess? Pakistan is one such country that has borne the brunt of terrorism in the worst way imaginable. The coffins of 134 children martyred in APS massacre were small but too heavy to be lifted with grace. Weekly count of fatal and injured casualties in suicide bomb blasts occurring in every nook and corner of Pakistan was too difficult to be tracked. We, as a nation, have witnessed, and thus are very well aware of, the grief of lifting coffins from almost every third household in Pakistan. Nevertheless, we did not blame the entire Indian population for conspiring against Pakistan in the form of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian spy in news these days.

Moreover, your media seems to have lost all sanity as it is busy in putting the entire blame on Pakistan for all calamities that have struck India since 1947. But in the midst of doing so by fair means or foul, Indian media houses have fallen into the trap of confusion they themselves had webbed. They are unable to decide whether “Pak PM threatened India to retaliate” or “Pak PM begged India for talks”. Playing around with words is what your media has mastered, thus portraying ‘retaliation’ as ‘willingness to initiate war’. But I do not think literacy rate of India is too low to understand what the word ‘retaliation’ actually means.

Why do you think loss of human life on Indian soil has no worth in the eyes of Pakistanis? Why do you think that the whole Pakistani nation must be celebrating the Pulwama tragedy? Contrary to your belief, we hold this tragedy as big a calamity as any other. We, as victims of terrorism, condemn every such assault that results in shattering of dreams and breaking of families. For us, blood is as equally red on Indian soil as it is on ours.

Yet you found it aptly suitable to ‘punish’ the Pakistani nation in lieu of the real culprits. Well, when ambassadors of people and culture like you get involved in such a manner, it becomes difficult to believe that there ever existed any people-to-people bond of love and sympathy, that there ever existed any Samjhota or Aman ki Asha. How difficult it is to understand that hating Pakistan should not be the true definition of Indian patriotism and vice versa? When cultural exchange is halted because of a pre-conceived notion of assigning fault on the basis of mere accusations, there seems to exist no light at the end of the tunnel.

What happened in 1947 is a reality and cannot be undone. What we could have done is to accept our history and progress towards a better future by joining hands and sharing the responsibility. Culture has always been thought to be a shared heritage in this region. Entertainment is deemed as a shared asset. Withal, you perceived putting a bar on cultural exchange as an ultimate strategy for revenge. But when sane minds like you prefer promoting hatred over making people understand that it is no common man’s fault, I guess it would be better if you never release any movie of yours in Pakistan. As far as banning Pakistani artists in India is concerned, the rule of thumb suggests that vacancy is created before it could be filled. You needed the services of our artists in your industry and so your hired them and paid them for their work. No strings attached.

In fact, thank you for banning the release of your movies in Pakistan, for your characters speak different words than you and your movies show us an unreal side of yours which we mistakenly believe to be true.

Thank you for telling us once and for all that your acting skills and the kind of entertainment you provide is only for a limited audience and not universal. Thank you for showing us the real you.


A Pakistani citizen


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