The responsibility of being a famous celebrity in Pakistan

Saif Ali Khan’s Phantom (2015) was a sad excuse for a movie, much like Shaan Shahid’s Musalman (2001). Movies that play on the very jingoistic sentiment, which have led us into various wars and thousands of casualties, do nothing but betray their audiences who otherwise wish and need peace in the region.

Pakistan was right to ban the film as a sign of protest. I would expect the same from India but India being a much older democracy has been far more disappointing. Not only did it ban non-political movies and dramas from Pakistan, but our artists like Shakeel Siddiqui and singers like Atif Aslam have also been directly threatened whilst on Indian soil, something no Indian artists has ever faced while visiting Pakistan.

The recent controversy created by Phantom, and subsequent statements made by Saif Ali Khan, got angry responses from known actors like Shaan Shahid and Hamza Ali Abbasi, and anchors like Faisal Qureshi and Shahzad Khan. I can understand their anger and hence, this video is not about defending Phantom or Saif Ali Khan.

Photo: Hamza Ali Abbasi Facebook page

Photo: Hamza Ali Abbasi Facebook page

But I fail to understand the use of sexism to echo one’s point in a patriarchal society (Qureshi), questioning people’s religion and associating one’s morality to their clothes (Abbasi), teasing a man on his wife’s personal life (Shahzad Khan) and demanding ban on another Pakistani Artist, Mawra Hocane, and endangering her career just for having an opposite view about a fictional movie (Shahid). This video is about the references and context we use to express our anger which may be perpetuating prejudices.

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These four gentlemen above have done remarkable work for Pakistan in their respective fields and otherwise, and are blessed with the love and support of millions. They are role models who people try to emulate. So, in effect, how they phrase their arguments and address their prejudices matters.

I have also tried to emphasise in this video that regardless of having opposing views, we as people need to learn to engage the other with respect, in the same way we expect it from others.

Pakistan Zindabad!

from The Express Tribune Blog http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/29255/the-responsibility-of-being-a-famous-celebrity-in-pakistan/

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