By Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Ever since 26/11, sections of Bollywood have been campaigning to keep Pakistani artistes out of India and Mumbai. Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali's multi-city tour this month was abruptly cancelled, leaving the musician who has been to India, repeatedly dazed and hurt. But the ban-the-Paki brigade is relentless. Some feel this is just a ploy by an under-employed lazy brood of Bolly entertainers to gain advantage in a market, that's fuelled by talent regardless of where it comes from. Adnan Sami recalls an amusing incident. On a flight from Karachi to Mumbai he spotted a Bollywood singer who had tirelessly tried to ban Adnan in Mumbai. Interestingly, a lot of musicians failed to reply to the survey. Maybe they were afraid to face the music.
Shaan: "A ban is harsh and against the creative tenets of music. Proper paper work and a work permit visa should be adhered to. Rules will have to be respected by all. Artistes like Ghulam Ali Saab are legends who should be adored and revered".
Shekhar (Vishal-Shekhar): "Instead of wasting time on banning Pakistani musicians, we should look into improving the conditions for our own musicians. Musicians are musicians. Whether they're Indian, Pakistani or British doesn't matter. It would be really stupid to ban Pakistani singers from performing in India. Just as Indian artistes cannot be blamed for terrorism in Pakistan, Pakistani artistes cannot be blamed for terrorism in India."
Sunidhi Chauhan: "No comments"
Alka Yagnik: "No, the artiste in me says that it's not right to ban a great artiste like Ghulam Ali on the basis of his kaum."
Babul Supriyo: "This isn't an easy question to answer. We artistes, regardless of our nationality, are for the people and by the people, and of the people. Our audience liked a few Pakistani artistes and made them overnight stars, much bigger than in their own country. I guess that's why our entrepreneurs felt inclined to use their talents. We can't blame music companies alone for promoting Pakistanis. We have to assume collective responsibility for it. Let's have a concert of Pakistani musicians and singers and throw it open to the Indian audience. Banning is not a solution."
Adnan Sami: "Should America ban Canadian and British musicians? Do we buy music according to caste creed or nationality or because we love music per se? We only spread love and harmony through our music. Whatever happened to the belief that music has no boundaries? Instead of wasting time jumping on the 'banned' wagon musicians should just concentrate on creating good music. And by the way, why just Pakistani musicians? Why not ban kebabs and cuisine from across the border?"
Kumar Sanu: "The Pakistani musicians are getting their name and fame in India. While the Pakistan's government allows their musicians to come to India, our musicians are not allowed to go there. We must stop them."
Abhijeet Sawant: "Why shouldn't we ban Pakistani musicians? We all respect the Pakistani people but we need to protest against their government. We can't do anything that would have a negative impact on our country. We respect them but not more than our own country. I don't think we should show any Pakistani on Indian television."
Farhan Akhtar: "It's not right to ban a musician like Ghulam Ali. He's an artiste and he has nothing to do with what's happening. Such knee-jerk reactions are detrimental to the future."
Aadesh Shrivastava: "I've no objection to Pakistani artistes coming to India. But they should be worth it. I'm a great fan of Raahat Ali, Abida Parveen and Ghulam Ali Saab and when Ghulam Ali Saab was prevented from coming to Mumbai, I was greatly pained, because he has nothing to do with what happened to Mumbai. However, has he bothered to make one statement against the 26/11 attacks? Considering how welcoming we've always been, it seems only right for someone like Ghulam Ali Saab to speak out against terrorism. We always extend the utmost hospitality to Pakistani artistes. But they should also learn to appreciate what we do for them. So many musicians and comedians were nobodies back home. We made them celebrities in Mumbai. Who knew Adnan Sami before he came to Mumbai? All I say is, when they come here, they must have the proper respect for our hospitality and work permit. When I recorded in the US with Wyclef Jean, I not only had the relevant papers, I also paid taxes over there. Do the Pakistani artistes in India follow these basic rules?"
Gulzar: "Let's not make a larger issue of a very specific and critical situation. Mumbai has been through a trauma. And there was no need for Ghulam Ali Saab to choose this time to perform in Mumbai and other cities in India. This is no time for events and celebrations. He's a regular visitor to our country and more than welcome during normal times."
Pritam Chakraborty: "No, musicians from Pakistan should not be banned in our country. I am both angry and sad for the 26/11 attack, and upset that the whole thing originated on Pakistani soil. But that's politics and has nothing to do with music. Musicians all over the world have no caste creed or religion. As a knee-jerk reaction, we should not ban Pak singers from performing here. The problem lies in politics not music."