Politics should never be mixed with culture and sports. However, say that to the hardliners across India and Pakistan and they"ll disrupt any move for peace. 26/11 Mumbai carnage aggravated the tension between India and Pakistan and expectedly, both countries severed its cultural and sporting ties. More than Indians, this breakdown affected the Pakistanis more since a lot of them had business interests in India. Any Pakistani artiste spotted (Shakeel Siddiqui) in the country was ordered to leave.
Fourteen months later, both countries have resumed cultural and sporting ties but sparsely. However, the hardliners in Maharasthra have selectively opposed to Pakistani sportsmen or artistes performing in the state. (The Shiv Sena didn"t oppose the presence of reputed Pakistani artistes who performed in the city as part of Aman ki asha).
Perhaps, the situation isn"t as bad as before and so our Pakistani artistes are feeling comfortable travelling to Mumbai city. Actor Yasir Shah, who has his origins in Pakistan, has returned to the city as he"s said to have bagged a lead role in Sahara One"s upcoming daily Kathputli. Shah admitted to having received the offer but nothing is finalized. The actor became a name in Indian household with a break in Balaji soap Khwaish and then made a brief appearance in 9x"s Jiya Jale.
It"s not the offer but what catches our eye is whether the actor considers it safe to work in Mumbai especially with fundamentalist threat lurking around the corner. Shah comes up with an interesting defensive line.
He says, “Look, I"m born and brought up in Dubai. That makes me a citizen of the UAE. So by that count, I"m not a Pakistani citizen. My father is a Pakistani and my mother hails from Delhi. Guess, there"s bit of Indianess in me too."
Surprisingly, when he first came to the city, Shah took pride in talking about his Pakistani origins and the love its people had for Indian cinema and their artistes. Before 26/11, Shah was considered for a leading role in Ananda Telefilms" show. While leaving the city then, Shah opined that politics shouldn"t be mixed with culture and sports. However, he"s now singing a different tune.
“I"m a UAE citizen and would appeal to all to not address me as a Pakistani actor. I"ve been in the city for a month and half and have faced no problem whatsoever. I don"t think any group will oppose my presence," Shah sighed.
Yes, Mr.Shah we get your point. You"re a man of different identities but perhaps your loyalty lies where the green buck is.