Mikaal Zulfikar, the Pakistani-British actor was hoping hard to make it big in Bollywood. But his dreams now have gone for a toss. And the reason is the unofficial ban on Pakistani entertainers in Maharashtra. Mikaal has made his debut as Naseeruddin Shah's nephew in Jagmohan Mundra's Shoot On Sight. He was supposed to arrive in Mumbai this month to begin shooting for Mundra's Roommates in February.
After this ban against Pakistani performers, the producers have quietly decided to replace Mikaal. Says director Jagmohan Mundra, "You can't blame them. My producers Evolution Films from Chennai, are new to Hindi cinema. They can't afford to antagonise a section of Mumbai for the sake of the cast. Better that we replace Mikaal, although his mother is a British and he holds a British passport. But it's not ours to question why."
He adds, "This is a kind of terrorism beyond the recognised forms of terrorism. How can artistes be segregated according to their religion and nationality? Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Farida Khannum and Ghulam Ali don't belong only to Pakistan. They belong to all of us. I was deeply disturbed to know that books by Pakistani authors have been taken off the shelves of Mumbai's bookstores. Creative arts should be kept above politics." Some things in life are unexpected. Better luck next time, Mikaal.