First Bollywood show in Pakistan

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paki lion

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A few months ago Akshay Kumar went on record to say he wouldn’t mouth anti-Pakistan dialogues in films even if it meant letting go of a plum assignment like Anil Sharma’s Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon.

Well, Akshay is now all set to be part of Bollywood’s first concert troupe scheduled to perform in Lahore on February 12. Says Akshay, “Yes Shilpa Shetty and I, along with several singers and musicians will be performing in Lahore, though certain formalities for our trip are yet to be completed.”

A 70-member troupe from Bollywood, which will also include singers Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan and musicians Jatin-Lalit, will perform at the Concord Show.

After Akshay, several major Bollywood stars including Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan are also expected to perform live in Pakistan. “It’s about time the barriers that have broken between the countries are done away with completely. A historical accident separated the two nations.

"But I firmly believe India and Pakistan have remained one at heart. Off and on, many of our artistes have gone to Pakistan and have been received warmly.

"Now I think the time has come for us from Bollywood to go there regularly. I sincerely think such an exercise would bring the two nations together,” says Akshay.

Akshay (his latest release Khakee brought him a truckload of praise) has a staunch fan following in Pakistan. “There are people in our neighbouring nation who write regularly to tell me how much they enjoy our films.

Shah Rukh, Salman, Amitji, Aishwarya, Madhuri and Kareena are some of the stars who are closely monitored by the masses in Pakistan. I think it’s time to screen new Indian films there regularly.”

Others from Bollywood who’ve recently extended a hand of friendship across the border are Urmila Matondkar, Pooja Batra and Nandita Das. Pooja Bhatt recently premiered her directorial debut Paap at the Karachi film festival. The Bhatts plan to make a film in collaboration with the Pakistani film industry.

Across the border, there are news reports of Pakistani projects featuring Indian actors. Films like Chandraprakash Diwedi’s Pinjar and Khamosh Pani, directed by Delhi-based Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar, starring Kirron Kher use the two countries as their setting.

Clearly the doors between India and Pakistan are being unbolted. “And about time,” is Akshay Kumar’s parting shot.
Posted 11 Feb 2004

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