Dear Fawad Khan,
At the outset, let me clarify that I am not singling you out. I am merely addressing this letter to you because you are the most famous Pakistani import to Bollywood.
By addressing you, I want to talk to every Pakistani import to Bollywood. This letter could have well been addressed to Adnan Sami, Raahat Fateh Ali Khan, Mahira Khan… the list is endless and keeps increasing every year.
Fawad, I don’t think you can deny how much love we have showered on you over the past few years. We have given you more money in two years than what you could have possibly earned in Pakistan in 10 years. We have given you recognition that you would have never been able to earn sitting in Karachi. We made you act in great movies, we helped you endorse brands. And hey, we also made you a bigger star in Pakistan.
Though you are a supporting male lead in Bollywood movies, you are now a mega superstar in Pakistan.
We are proud of what we have done for you. We know that you have acknowledged it numerous times. You have spoken with gratefulness about the love and hospitality that we have shown to you. Though you keep mum about the money, you have earned here, we know that you are grateful to India for showering you with wealth too. Thank you for acknowledging that.
You are welcome.
I don’t know about others, I used to be very vocal about the fact that culture knows no boundaries and that there should be free exchange of artistes between India and Pakistan. Me and few of my friends supported and patronised the fact that India and Pakistan should collaborate for projects, specially when it comes to cinema. We recognise that cinema is one of the strongest forms of dialogue that can go a long way in forming public opinion across borders which will facilitate the peace process between the neighbours.
Dear Fawad, whatever we have mentioned earlier is being done by us. India. Your country is doing just the opposite. We talk about dialogues but this is just becoming a monologue of peace from India.
We give you so much love and money, but your country continues to ban our cinema and our artistes.
We drool over you and give you some of our best projects. Your country dreams of creating a Bollywood on their own. We are thinking of collaboration while your country talks of division and isolation.
Our country knows that your country’s television serials are far better than us (in quality that is, we always had more money though) but your country’s government have prevented us from working with you there too.
Your country is mad about Bollywood movies but end up supporting piracy because most of the Bollywood movies are illegally downloaded in Pakistan. Bollywood movie piracy has only grown in Pakistan over the years.
All this never really mattered to us in the past. As I said earlier, we were only concerned about a free and fair cultural exchange no matter what is happening at our borders or how violence is being incited in Kashmir by your government backed Jihadi groups.
The water is flowing over our heads now, Fawad.
We have watched in pain how you have chosen to look away when your country is inflicting pain on us. We are letting you laugh all the way to your bank account in Karachi while our soldiers are bleeding in Uri, Kashmir.
You have chosen to keep quiet about us, our suffering and our death in the hands of your Mujahideen army. While we have given you only love, you have given us silence and that cute, dimpled smile of yours.
Sorry Fawad, cultural exchanges cannot happen over dead bodies of our soldiers. We cannot shake hands with your country when their hands are covered in blood of our own countrymen.
We know that you have a lot of support from Indians who would pamper you in isolation. We don’t blame them as they have invested money on you and wouldn’t want to lose it.
Fawad, you lack courage. You lack conviction. You lack the guts to stand up against the Jihadists of your country who think they are serving God by killing us.
Finish what you are doing Fawad and then do us a favour by going back to Pakistan. You see, what you have earned here is enough to last a lifetime. Go when the time is good and don’t wait for people to boycott you. Don’t wait for movies to crash at the box office because you are there in it.
Let’s part as friends, Fawad. It doesn’t matter if you have failed to respond to the favours we have done to you and your colleagues from Pakistan.
We wish you all the best and pray that someday you will have the courage to rise above boundaries and speak for what is right. We wish that someday you will stand with us because you earned your bread on our soil.
Take care and let us know when you are getting your air tickets to Karachi done. We plan to give you a grand farewell.
With deep regards,
Your ardent Indian fan.
The author tweets at @soumyadiptabanerjee