By Nandita C Puri
About six months back, long before this issue of banning Pakistani artistes arose, I was sharing my thoughts with a friend.
‘Why have these Pakistani actors and singers when we have enough and perhaps better talent here’?
My friend was a little skeptical about my views. I explained to her that we are not a super-rich country and it is our moral obligation to provide employment for our own people rather than foreigners.
Charity begins at home. First feed your family and then distribute the excess food in the neighbourhood.
My friend, like a whole bunch of parroting Indians replied that creativity has no borders. Sure. I would like to agree, but only if it is preceded by “humanity has no borders”.
When our army is being attacked, when innocent civilians are being killed and our people and products are being banned across the border, is this creativity nonsense justified?
Considering the current mood, which is hostile, anti Pakistan and near war-like, nothing but country, and I repeat, “country comes first” for me. Everything comes later including professional and personal relationships. At this point in time, when we are fighting the enemy country, we do not import or export goods and that includes talent.
It is at such times we have to portray a united front, like the army and unlike the politicians and Bollywood personalities. If you have any patriotic ideas then by all means air it publicly. Lift the public morale.
My advice to these Bollywood celebs: If you don’t, then use self-restraint and keep it within your coterie, and do not use the public platform and the media to gain some cheap publicity.
Just like Om Puri did recently.
As a senior inspector from the local police station said, “Yeh sahi waqt nahin hai”.
It is all about timing. Imagine if all our nationalist leaders, Nehru, Patel, Bose, Gokhale, Jinnah and Gandhi had access to the electronic media and aired their opinions individually……independence would have been still a pipe dream for us. Thank God for such small mercies!
As for Om Puri’s comments, the less said the better. It is not only shocking but truly disgusting.
In future people like him should not be given media footage as obviously they don’t have a clue about what they are saying.
Propagating suicide bombing and seditious thoughts….all I can say is if you so believe in it then practice what you preach. Don’t provoke the youth wrongly.
Be it the Bollywood stars or Om Puri, they keep making callous statements, get their cheap publicity for free and then merely get away with a “sorry”.
Is it fair?
Our army cannot afford to make mistakes. They will be court martialed. But our politicians and celebrities can? Why this double standard? And what do we do with these callous celebs?
There is no justification in a sorry from them because they do not mean it and will continue to repeat for the sake of publicity. Besides, and I quote from my schooldays, “Sorry doesn’t make a dead man alive”.
I think the best punishment for them would be a public banning of their films for two years at the least. This will not only hit where it hurt most, hopefully it will drive home the point in their over inflated thick skulls.
Let us make it a point not to patronize the films of Om Puri for five years, for insulting the Indian army and some other Bollywood celebrities for not having the balls to be with the nation in its hour of need, for two years each.
All that these Bollywood hot shots needed, was to make a statement that they would not work with Pakistani artistes in future. And that would have cleared the air.
As for the Fawad Khans and Atif Aslams, since your country comes first and since you do not have empathy with India whose namak you are consuming, then have the balls to return to your country instead of licking our Bollywood boots.
Am I sounding horribly rabid? An extremist?
No, I don’t think so.
It is just that for me country comes first. Everything else follows. And I stand behind the Indian armed forces.
The views expressed here are the author’s own.
Nandita is Om Puri’s legally wedded wife for more than 23 years. Om Puri and Nandita have been at loggerheads over a marital dispute for many years. Nandita has recently withdrawn the criminal complaints she had filed against Om. The couple isn’t officially separated.
Nandita and her son have been provided with police security since Om’s comments were aired by a TV channel and the backlash that followed.
Om Puri has since apologised and expressed regret for his comments and have sought punishment.