Bollywood Love Affair continues With Pakistan!!!
Ever since the partition, many prominent artists born in cities like LAHORE & KARACHI, migrated to India and similarly, many well-known artists decided to move to Pakistan but it wasn’t till 1949 when Pakistan’s first ever film TERI YAAD was made in Lahore, which was one of the three major film centers in pre-partitioned India besides Calcutta & Bombay. The very same year, M. L. Anand’s film LAHORE (1949) with Nargis, Karan Diwan, Pratima Devi & Om Prakash, which depicted the horrors of partition was screened, and it’s said that many artists from India & Pakistan wept uncontrollably as they experienced the butchery during partition. Lahore & Karachi became the major film production centers in Pakistan and Bollywood went on to become the world’s major film producer and the walls of mistrust grew further between the two countries. No producer dared to make films about the deep bonding that the people shared for centuries and few historical films merely had mention of popular cities where many displaced families had lived for centuries. The 1965 & 1971 Indo-Pak war didn’t help either as films on either side had more patriotic fervour deepening the divide between the nations, however, things started improving from late 70’s as Nazia-Zoheb Hassan & the gazal duo of Mehdi Hassan & Ghulam Ali became popular in India. I must mention that Indian movies, inspite of a very strong lobby against them, remained popular and along with Dilip Kumar & Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna & Amitabh Bachchan were the new heart throbs there and needless to say that Indian heroines ruled the hearts. Mallika-E-Tarannum NOOR JEHAN was accorded a grand reception in Bombay in early 80’s and DILIP KUMAR, who was born in Peshawar, was treated royally on his first trip to Pakistan, however, during all this the cultural exchanges improved and artists from Lollywood & Bollywood became closer. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan made qawwalis popular in India and artists like Attaullah Khan, Akram Rahi & Sajjad Ali inspired many in Bollywood in 80’s & 90’s and many Pakistani pop artists became house hold names in late 90’s and 2000’s. Though SALMA AGHA sang through her songs in NIKAAH to reach the hearts of Indians, ZEBA BAKHTIYAR made the biggest impression with Raj Kapoor’s HENNA (1987), though her later attempts like JAI VIKRANTAA, MOHABBAT KI ARZOO failed miserably, and thus started a new trend of Pakistani actors in Bollywood. Pakistan’s SOMY ALI started with films like ANTH and fell in love with SALMAN KHAN but Salman’s fascination with Aishwarya Rai turned her off and she left bollywood forever to settle in America. MEERA (Zehar), VEENA MALIK (Zindagi 50-50), JAVED SHEIKH (Namastey London), ALI ZAFAR (Tere Bin Laden & Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), SARA LOREN (Kajra Re & Murder 3), IMRAN ABBAS, FAWAD KHAN (Khubsoorat) & HUMAIMA MALICK (Raja Natwarlal) are some of the other Pakistani artists and the latest to join is MAHIRA KHAN, who has been signed opposite Shahrukh Khan in Farhan Akhtar’s RAEES (2016). Atif Aslam, Amanat Ali, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Muazzam & Rizwan Mujahid Ali Khan are some of the popular singers to do well in Bollywood and many prominent bollywood musicians are exploring new singing talents from Pakistan. Meanwhile, Khushwant Singh’s popular novel TRAIN TO PAKISTAN (1956) was made into a film by Pamela Rookes in 1998 with Nirmal Pandey, Smriti Mishra, Rajit Kapoor, Mohan Agashe & Divya Dutta and Sanjay Puran Singh made an impressive film LAHORE (2010) about sports rivalry between India & Pakistan featuring Farooq Shaikh & Nafeesa Ali . Popular theatre & film star Vijay Raaz directed his maiden film KYA DILLI KYA LAHORE (2014) to critical acclaim with Manu Rishi, Vijay Raaz, Raj Zutshi & Vishwajeet Pradhan in lead roles and this Friday, Ashish R.Mohan directs Vashu Bhagnani’s production WELCOME TO KARACHI (2015) with ARSHAD WARSI, JACKY BHAGNANI & LAUREN GOTLIEB, which is shot in Birmingham, England as Pakistani authorities refused permission to shoot the film (apparently the producers dropped the idea to shoot there because of security concerns in Karachi) but seems interesting as the film is about two Indians kidnapped to Karachi and all reports indicate that it could do very well at the box-office. Bollywood’s love affair continues with Pakistan as Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri & Anupam Kher frequently visit Pakistan and more TV & stage actors are being approached to act in Bollywood films. Yes, some from either side will continue to make films like GADAR & WARR but the fact remains that mutual cooperation can erase the deep rooted suspicions and bring the communities and the nations together and I sincerely hope that Bollywood’s love affair with Pakistan continues as that can contribute big time in bringing peace to these warring nations!
Kamal Sharma, president of Kamal’s Video Palace, the biggest Indian video store in North America and concert pro moter since 1994, is a popular TV host on Shaw Multicultural Channel of “Kamal’s Top 5 Hits” and “YAADEIN,” the longest running South Asian TV shows for more than 31 years.