Pakistani actress Saba Qamar says she wasn’t scared while shooting for her debut Bollywood film Hindi Medium, even though it was a time when right-wing groups were pressuring film directors not to use Pakistani talent. In an interview with Mid-Day, Saba Qamar said India was a relatively more secular place, and police officers she interacted with even took selfies with her.
She said, “I wasn’t scared. Around the same time, my visa was also about to expire. I had applied for an extension of 15 days to complete the shoot. To my surprise, everyone was nice to me. I had to go to the police station for verification and the officers took selfies.”
She also said she faced no discomfort from the public, “Back home, people are conservative about religion, but India is secular. For a particular scene, we had to go to a temple, church and gurudwara, and people here were comfortable with me around.”
Saba, who became a popular face in India because of the TV series Sangat and Thakan airing on Zindagi TV, said she loved all the praise she got for her performance from Indian audiences. “People from India are sending me congratulatory messages on social media, showering me with love. The film has raised people’s expectations, and I hope I can live up to them in future,” she said, adding that she hopes the relationship between the two countries improves in the future.
Following the 2016 Uri attacks, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) banned Pakistani artistes and technicians from working in the film industry. Soon after, Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was dropped from a project in India. On September 25, 2016, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a right-wing political outfit, had given a 48 hour ultimatum to all Pakistani actors to leave India.
They also threatened to stop the release of Karan Johar’s Bollywood film, Ae Dil Hei Mushkil, which had actor Fawad Khan in a pivotal role, and Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees, which starred Pakistani actress Mahira Khan.
Feature Image: Dawn.com