Mumbai hotel expels Pakistan filmmaker
NEW DELHI, Aug 30: Noted Pakistani filmmaker Hasan Zaidi was thrown out by a Mumbai hotel on Monday for bearing his country’s citizenship but he said on Thursday that the city remained a home for him with many warm friends.
“All my Indian friends were outraged by the incident and they all opened their homes to me,” Mr Zaidi told Dawn from Mumbai.
He said several film personalities, who he didn’t name, as well as close friends helped him move to a five-star hotel on an exclusive beach.
The filmmaker had arrived from Karachi on Monday and checked into a hotel where he was booked by a colleague from Mumbai. “I had barely entered my room when they sent for my passport and said they didn’t put up Pakistanis or Bangladeshis.”
The erring hotel manager later informed him that several other hotels in Mumbai followed a similar policy towards Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. The two countries have figured as suspects in recent blasts in the city. But there is a communal angle too, prompted by the power that the rightwing Shiv Sena wields there.
In fact, Pakistan and India have not been able to open their consulates in Karachi and Mumbai, partly because Pakistan has been unable to find a piece of land in India’s commercial hub.
Mr Zaidi’s unfortunate story became a major feature on TV channels and newspapers, something he said he didn’t want to happen. When the manager of the erring hotel came to know of his profession he apologised to the visitor.
Mr Zaidi is involved in a project with Mahesh Bhatt for a film that would be shot in Mumbai and Karachi. The shooting begins in January and could take a year to finish. “It’s a commercial thriller with Mumbai and Karachi links. There are Indian and Pakistani actors and technicians involved,” Mr Zaidi, who is a frequent visitor to the city, said.