‘There should be a resort on Indo-Pakistan no man’s land’
KARACHI: It pains me to know that relatives living on both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border cannot easily meet each other. Authorities should make a resort on no man’s land and allow them to meet. This was one of the many interesting remarks made by the distinguished Indian actor Om Puri while speaking at a local hotel on Saturday evening at the launch of a Pakistani film Actor in Law, in which he is playing an important role.
The room where the press conference was held brimmed with excited journalists, photographers and cameramen to hear and see Mr Puri. He started off by telling the media that he had been to Pakistan on a few occasions, and the first time he came to Karachi was five or six years back to take part in the Kara Film Festival. He said he had now seen almost the entire city on a two-wheeler (perhaps a reference to situations in the movie).
Mr Puri said when the script of the film reached him he found it unusual. He claimed that the team of the project was ‘talented’ and ‘professional’. In that context he said the director (Nabeel Qureshi) tried to get the maximum out of his actors, and the director of photography Rana Kamran too did his job well, for he was one who did the general lighting of a scene without creating much fuss.
Mr Puri said he was not surprised at the warm hospitality he received in Pakistan because he had known Pakistanis for more than two decades during his interaction with them in other parts of the world. Alluding to the political situation between India and Pakistan, he said it saddened him that people could not meet their relatives across the border. He said if the authorities were so concerned about it they should either thoroughly search or frisk travellers or make a resort on no man’s land for them to meet. He lamented that the poor found it hard to get a visa to cross over to the other side of the border. He requested the decision-makers to allow people to spread love.
Replying to a question Mr Puri said since he was an apolitical person, it wasn’t difficult for him to decide to work in a Pakistani film. He said Pakistani films should also get released in India, and mentioned that he did see, and like, two of them — Khuda Ke Liye and Bol. On Actor in Law, he said the film would be categorised as a medium budget project. He said it had a clever script.
On the question of films that were being made in India, Mr Puri said that while they had technically improved they lacked ‘hard hitting’ subject matter. When the question about intolerance faced by Pakistani artists in India was raised, he said he was sad to find out that Ghulam Ali was not allowed to perform in Mumbai. He told the questioner that more than 90 per cent of people in India were secular; there was only one party in Maharashtra which was opposed to Pakistani artists, so the government there should talk to it with affection and try to make it understand that artists do not belong to one geographical boundary — they belong to everyone.
The director of Actor in Law Nabeel Qureshi said the film was slated to be released on Eidul Azha and the first spell of shooting had already finished. He said when he started working with Mr Puri he asked him what kind of directors he didn’t like. The actor said those who tired him out, and named Govind Nihalani in that category.
The producer of the film, Fizza Ali Meerza, thanked the media for turning up in a big number for the press conference. She hoped that the film would be well-received like the director-producer duo’s previous venture Na Maloom Afraad.
Actors Fahad Mustafa, Mehvish Hayat, Alyy Khan and cinematographer Rana Kamran also spoke.