Following the Pulwama terror attack, many from the Bollywood industry have been pulling out from events in Pakistan, which started with Javed Akthar and Shabana Azmi, and now Rekha Bhardwaj and Harshdeep Kaur have also cancelled their shows.
Reported by Hindustan Times, the veteran actors Azmi and Akthar who were both invited to a conference about Kaifi Azmi and his poetry, took to Twitter to convey their disbelief. Azmi tweeted “I am filled with pain and grief and all else ..by the dastardly #Pulwama attack . For the 1st time in all these years I feel weakened in my belief that people to people contact can force the Establishment to do the right thing.We will need to call halt to cultural exchange,” said Azmi.
Akthar confirmed their decision to pull out, “Kranchi art council had invited. Shabana and me for a two day lit conference about Kaifi Azmi and his poetry. We have cancelled that. In 1965 during the indo Pak war Kaifi saheb had written a poem. Aur Phir Krishan Ne Arjun Se Kaha.”
Bollywood singers Bhardwaj and Kaur, were to perform at Shaan-e-Pakistan 2019 gala next month, but have since withdrawn. Bhardwaj who is considered the star attraction for the event, said, “I cancelled our show to Pakistan immediately after the Pulwama attack.” Kaur also followed suit and said she wasn’t going to be partaking either.
Despite this, the organisers will still continue with the show, which will be produced and directed by Javed Bashir. Rehan Babar of Aden Rehan PR and Management Soultions, official PR Partners of the event, responded to questions on updates surrounding Bhardwaj and Kaur not performing, “We have no news on Rekhaji and Harshdeep Kaur,” said Babar, who added, “Shaan-e-Pakistan’ is about promoting fashion, music, art and culture and bringing Pakistan and India together on these platforms. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with promoting peace and love through art and culture. Regardless of the current political tensions, Shaan-e-Pakistan is still very much going ahead and on course to take place in March 21 and 22.”
Bhardwaj’s husband and film maker Vishal Bhardwaj was also due to go on a trip to Pakistan to research for his Netflix series ‘Midnight’s Children’, based on Salman Rushdie’s novel. Though a source shares this has now been cancelled.
As tension continues to grow, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) have ordered no filmmaker is to release their film in Pakistan, which includes a ban on working with Pakistani talent also.