MUMBAI: After shunting out Pakistani stand-up comedian Shakeel Siddiqui, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is now targeting Pakistani kids who are in the city to participate in a musical show on a private television channel.
MNS members threatened the channel on Monday that they would not tolerate any Pakistani coming to India and participating in any kind of show. MNS Cine Workers' Association president Ameya Khoppkar said, "This step by the channel and the producer of show has shocked people across the country. How can you allow people from Pakistan to come to India after the 26/11 terror attack?''
Most people in the industry were aghast at the party not even leaving kids alone though there were some who agreed with the MNS stand.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said, "The Mahatma said we should start with children if we were to teach real peace in this world and if we were to carry on a real war against war. It is heartbreaking to see Chhote Ustad being targeted! Are we now going to use kids in our hate campaign?''
Writer-director Vinta Nanda agreed, "Is India a democracy or a fascist nation? Am sure no one in MNS knows the pain of separation, they have never been displaced or uprooted from their home or had to start their lives afresh. Why can't they allow peace and harmony between the two countries?''
But there was some support for the MNS stand. A singer, who didn't want to be quoted, said, "We Indians have always liked the outsider and that is our problem. So many of them have told me that they like Pakistani singers and don't really encourage our talent.''
Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association president TP Agarwal, too, voiced a similar feeling. "When they don't encourage our singers there, why should we allow them here? I am totally against it. Even if this show is not employment-based, I would still not want Pakistanis to come to India,'' he said.
From Times of India
The host of the show, Sonu Nigam, and producer-director Gajendra Singh were not available for comment but a spokesperson of the private channel said, "Chote Ustaad is a common opportunity for showcasing Indian and Pakistani kids' talent. They form pairs to compete with each other and are not participating as representatives of one country against those of another. It does not provide an avenue for employment but attempts to bring out the musical vibrancy of each country through the show.''
Khoppkar, however, stuck to his guns. "I have also told the the channel that the Pakistani kids taking part in the show must recite Vande Mataram before the show. Will they do it?'' he asked.
"The next time anyone brings Pakistanis here, we are going to beat them up. We have enough talent in India,'' he said, adding, "Don't you know how many children died and were orphaned in 26/11?''