Raees director on Pak cricketers’ India visit: ‘Can we invite their actors now?’ | Bollywood


Pakistani cricketers landed in India on Wednesday for the first time in seven years. They are here to play in the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Rahul Dholakia took to X (formerly Twitter) to share his reaction. The Raees filmmaker asked if it was time that the actors from the neighboring country also worked in Hindi films again. Also read: Mahira Khan calls ban on Pakistani artistes ‘sad’, says she was ‘scared’ to sign web series on Indian platforms

Raees director Rahul Dholakia with Pakistani actor Mahira Khan on the 2017 film's set. (Mahira Khan/ Twitter)
Raees director Rahul Dholakia with Pakistani actor Mahira Khan on the 2017 film’s set. (Mahira Khan/ Twitter)

Rahul Dholakia on Pakistan cricketers’ India visit

He tweeted, “Now that Pakistani cricketers are officially here, can we also invite Pakistani actors to act in our films? Or musicians to perform?”

Rahul Dholakia had directed the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees, which was released in 2017. The film marked the Hindi film debut of Pakistani actor Mahira Khan. But she was not allowed to promote the movie in the country due to a ban, which was imposed on Pakistani artistes in India after the Uri terror attack.

At the time of the film’s release in 2017, Mahira Khan had said in an interview with Bollywood Hungama, “Whether it was Shah Rukh Khan, Ritesh Batra, Farhan Akhtar or Rahul, they all have been so amazing. It was important for Raees to be released and do well at the box office. At the end of the day it’s all about films, which is bigger than all of us combined.”

Calling her interview clip ‘sweet’, Rahul Dholakia had shared it on X in 2017 and tweeted, “So sweet! Somewhere I feel we have wronged her. Our people forgot that she is an artiste, not the enemy! We took away her right as an actor! Unfair. Mahira Khan, you are wonderful and thank you for being a part of Raees.”

Ban on Pakistani artistes

After the Uri attack in 2016, Pakistani artistes were banned from working in Bollywood. The All Indian Cine Workers Association had announced a total ban on Pakistani artistes after the Pulwama terror attack in 2019.

“In relation to Pakistani government banning Indian movies in Pakistan AICWA (All Indian Cine Workers Association) urges all the film industries to put a complete stop to any association with Pakistani artists, musicians, and diplomats,” the statement had read in response to Pakistan’s own ban on Indian films.

Mahira calls ban on Pakistani artistes ‘sad’

Speaking to Film Companion in a 2021 interview, Mahira had said about the ban, “I guess, having experienced it firsthand, it’s just sad. When I think about it… I mean, we have all moved on. That’s what we do, if we don’t have this, we do something else. That’s what happens. But I feel like a great opportunity for the entire subcontinent to come together and collaborate was lost. I think it might happen again. Who knows?”


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