An old interview of Pakistani actress Mahira Khan on a Pakistani channel which has just surfaced has deeply embarrassed the producers of her Bollywood film Raees. “We must never be inspired by India and Bollywood,” she is heard telling the anchor.
The anchor then goes on to tell what he thinks is a funny story about a Pakistani filmmaker who got so inspired by Bollywood that when his father died he cremated rather than buried the dead man.
This is a morbid irrational insensitive and humourless jibe at a very sensitive ritual.
Mahira can be seen laughing pleasurably at all this Bollywood-bashing. A very successful angry Indian filmmaker wants to know why we need to invite artistes who have scant regard for Bollywood. “Fawad and Mahira became famous only after they worked in India. But there is no sign of any love for Bollywood in their attitude. Shah Rukh Khan, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar had to fight tooth and nail to retain Mahira in Raees. But she speaks back home as though she has done us a favour by acting in our cinema.”
The Raees producer Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar and Shah Rukh Khan have been exceedingly kind to Mahira, accommodating her in the film in spite of the unofficial ban on Pakistanis artistes. Shah Rukh Rukh even shot a whole song with Mahira in Dubai.
According to sources in Bollywood, Mahira won’t be seen in any Indian film even when relations normalize between the two countries.