Why do we do this?

Posted on June 23, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, TV, Movies & Theatre
7 Comments
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Adil Najam

Following up on the ATP blogpost from June 19, 2006 (Mughal-e-Azam: A party fit for an emperor), Reuters and various Indian news outlets are now reporting that veteran Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar, who is married to actress Shabana Azmi has been refused a visa for Pakistan and that other Indian filmstars who were coming to Karachi for the opening of Mughal-e-Azam have decided to cancel the trip in protest.

Speaking to the Press Trust of India, Javed Akhtar said:

I don’t understand what kind of a threat I can pose to that country. In fact, we were going for a very noble cause, where a day after the premiere, we were scheduled to participate in a telecom to raise funds for earthquake victims. .. After hearing that I have been denied a visa, the organiser Akbar Asif… called a press conference in Karachi and announced that he was postponing the event until I am granted a visa. I suppose it is now as good as cancelledI am, in fact, quite amused at it. I feel they have given me too much importance. The only thing that comes to mind is that I have been too frank for their comfort on sensitive issues and in a society where there is no tradition of having opposition, this is bound to happen.

Of course, one has yet to hear the version from the Pakistan side and there may well be a valid explanation for this. But irrespective of what that might be, did this really need to happen? Is the needless controversy this is bound to generate really worth it? is anyone at all thinking about the public diplomacy aspects of this?

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7 responses to “Why do we do this?”

  1. MSK says:

    Ok, its over.

    http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?typ e=filmNews&storyID=2006-06-26T151415Z_01_ISL317177 _RTRIDST_0_FILM-SOUTHASIA-DC.XML

    On this one, I think its the Indian stars who are blowing this up and letting their star egos get in the way. Someone needed to step in and cool the situation. Why escalate.

  2. MSK says:

    I think the Pakistanis should have given him the visa and been gracious. So, this was a messup there. But I also think that Javed A. and others in India should also have been more gracious. This is a story of beureacratic pettiness on the part of the visa staff and over-inflated superstar ego on the part of Mr. Akhter.

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