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Indian national award-winning film-maker Shonali Bose has spoken about the ban on Pakistani artists working in India. As a part of a panel discussion called ‘Controlling creativity: Is censorship relevant?’ she took up the case of Fawad Khan and why she shouldn’t have the liberty and freedom of working with him if she wanted to.

“Cinema should be free… For instance, Pakistani actors are not allowed to work in Indian films, and this decision is supported by Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association. What if I want to make a film with Fawad Khan?” the director questioned.

When the moderator of the panel mentioned that her comment might lead to her being termed as ‘anti-national,’ she replied, “That is the problem with our country nowadays…I speak of friendship between two countries. I want to make a film with Fawad Khan and nobody will allow me to make the film; producers will not back the film because of the risk and fear that has been created around it.”

The call for banning Pakistani artists from the Indian film industry first surfaced in 2016 when cross-border tension spilled over into the entertainment world. This resulted in some Indian political outfits imposing a ban on Pakistanis and Pakistani theatres pulling down Indian movies from their big screens.

The issue resurfaced last month when Union Minister Babul Supriyo said that Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice for a song in the Bollywood film Welcome to New York must be dubbed by someone else. Supriyo also demanded a ban on Pakistani artistes in Bollywood. Recently, it was also reported that Atif Aslam refused to promote a song he sang for upcoming Bollywood film, Daas Dev due to this reason.

The filmmaker is most known for her film Margarita with a Straw featuring Kalki Koechlin.