Indian film producers seek ban on Pakistan artists working in India in wake of Pulwama attack

Ashoke PanditIANS
Action came to a halt for cricketers Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammad Kaif and Suresh Raina, who were in the midst of shooting an ad here, as they joined artistes and technicians representing 24 film associations in a two-hour protest against the Pulwama terror attack at Filmcity in Goregaon here on Sunday.

Spearheaded by the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), the protest doubled up as a warning to filmmakers against working with Pakistani talent or releasing their films in Pakistan, just days after a CRPF convoy was attacked by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, leaving at least 49 troopers dead on February 14.

"The Federation won't allow Pakistani artistes to work in Indian films, and we won't let producers their release films in Pakistan... The entire trade (with Pakistan) will be called off as far as the film industry is concerned," FWICE chief advisor Ashoke Pandit told IANS.

"One of the reasons why we have banned (filmmakers from working with Pakistani talent) is also because none of the Pakistani artistes have condemned this massacre. We hope the producers, distributors and music companies will support these demands by the Federation.

"If any producer or distributor will not co-operate, then FWICE will boycott their shootings and other work, which means technicians and workers will not work with them, and they will not be able to function," he added.

Pandit added that Punjab cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu will not be allowed to function in the world of entertainment.

Sidhu has been in the line of fire over his comment that "nations cannot be held responsible for the dastardly acts of terrorists" and that the dialogue with Islamabad should continue.

His comments led to a huge uproar, with hashtags like #BoycottSidhu #BoycottKapilSharmaShow and #BoycottSonyTV trending on Twitter, and is also one of the reasons why he has been ousted from the popular "The Kapil Sharma Show" on television.

Pandit thanked the four cricketers for their presence in the solidarity march by the film industry. Behind-the-scenes workers from the hair, make-up, camera, light and sound department joined the protest, where actress Isha Koppikar also marked her presence.
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