The Pakistan International Film Festival (PIFF) was a great initiative for open dialogue between artists from both sides of the border. It seemed like a brand new beginning and ray of hope to see so many Indian and Pakistanis discussing how to bridge the gap created by politics and encouraging cultural exchange.
Indian filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj also discussed the ban on Pakistani actors and the popularity that Fawad Khan enjoys in India.“If bias against Pakistani actors had been there, the masses wouldn’t have gone to watch their films. So, there is nothing against them in the heart of masses. Whatever else is there, it is politically motivated otherwise how would have Fawad become a superstar in India?” he asked.
“I love Pakistan. Whenever I come here, I find a reason to come back again. I didn’t find any changes. The only change I found is that the love for us has increased,” the director confessed.
Encouraging further cultural exchange he added, “I think this is the only way to bring normality between the two countries — more and more cultural events can bridge the gap. And it’s very sad that we are always at loggerheads.We all are alike. If we come together, we’ll be such a great force in the world in terms of everything — culturally, economically as well as politically.”
Being hopeful, the award-winning filmmaker said time will heal the situation.
“I think it will get smooth with time because culture is the only way possible. Generally, there are two ways to bridge the gap: cultural and political. Politics is failing in achieving that for a long time. In fact, political situation has been affecting cultural exchanges too. Therefore, culture should be left alone. There is a need for tolerance and acceptance from both ends. It has to be a two-way thing otherwise it won’t work.”