'Ramchand Pakistani' will have a calming effect, says producer

Mumbai, Oct 1 (IANS) Pakistani film "Ramchand Pakistani" had a red carpet premiere here and its producer Javed Jabbar, who served as minister of information in Pervez Musharraf's government, says the movie will have a "calming effect" in the present situation in India.

"Ramchand Pakistani", which is directorial debut of Jabbar's daughter Mehreen, is about the dilemma of people living in the border area of India and Pakistan, was premiered here Tuesday.

Was he a bit worried that in the midst of the recent terror strikes meant apparently to create a communal divide in India, the message of the Hindu-Muslim amity that his movie tries to send across would get drowned?

"This a tricky question to answer. But I should think, "Ramchand Pakistani" would have a calming effect in the present situation in India," Jabbar told IANS.

Can movies bring closer people estranged on religious lines?

"The movies may not help people shed their differences instantly, but if the objectives are clear and sincere, the movies can certainly help people see these differences in proper perspective. This is the least a filmmaker can do," he said.

Of late, some movies, including "Khuda Kay Liye", have been made both in India and Pakistan on the sensitive subject of communalism and fundamentalism and their effect on the common people. But they do not seem to have a "calming effect" on the perpetrators of hatred.

"It s difficult to change the mindset of those who thrive on communalism and fundamentalism," Jabbar pointed out.

Asked him, can a movie like "Ramchand Pakistani" bring India and Pakistan closer, he said: "I should think so. But, let me also say that, against one 'Ramchand Pakistani', there are also some which are intended to widen the divide. But that should not defeat our purpose."

Jabbar regretted that though India and Pakistan are neighbours, the common people of both the countries, in spite of having common heritage, are still strangers to one another.

"We are so near and yet so far," he rued and said that he would happy if his movie help people to get acquainted with the reality on the ground, both in India and Pakistan.

Pakistani producer was all praise for Percept Picture Company for coming forward to get "Ramchand Pakistani" released in India.

Ashok Ahuja, one of the directors on the board of Percept Picture Company, said that though the movie was a commercial success in Pakistan, over and above being critically acclaimed internationally, his company was not so much concerned about its box-office success in India.

The lead pair of "Ramchand Pakistani", Nandita Das and Rashid Farooqui, attended the premiere and received a standing ovation for their true-to-life performances.

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