India, Pakistan are different nations, says Kalki Koechlin
Bollywood actor Kalki Koechlin says India and Pakistan are remarkably different countries.
The Dev D actor, who collaborated with acclaimed Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar on Azmaish, opened up about her experience of travelling across the two countries in connection with the documentary.
“Usually, we see the two countries through the prism of conflict. Or cricket, which is also conflict. With Azmaish, we try to understand India-Pakistan from a different perspective. It arises from the need to know this person across the border, without the media or the politics playing a role. It’s about what the common man on the street has to say,” Kalki told Indian Express.
Speaking about the differences between Indian and Pakistan, she said, “I realised that despite the obvious similarities in culture and language, India and Pakistan are vastly different nations. Both have glaring issues and need to look inward, rather than point fingers at each other. The project made us wonder if we are looking for a religious identity in India now, and what that did to Pakistan.” The actor said the time was ripe for greater cultural exchanges between the two nations. “More than ever now, the two countries need to continue cultural exchanges and pro- mote debate,” she said.
On her interactions with people in connection with the documentary, the Dev D actor said, “I met some girls in Pakistan who told me about their secret ambition of wanting to act when they grow up but how society wouldn’t permit. We met some feudal landlords in Pakistan, and one of them was very open to conversation despite the fact that we criticised his lot.” Kalki was all praise for award-winning filmmaker Sabiha, “She was very brave, and travelled to areas in Pakistan where she was the only woman, and debated with religious figures.” “She is way more experienced than I am. She is a very sensitive person, and that’s where we connect the most. She fears that India is moving towards extremism, and I try and tell her that we are too diverse for one person to rule the discourse,” the actor added.