Filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani voices his views on the campaign against foreigners working in the Mumbai film industry.
Read on for excerpts:
Are you in favor of banning Pakistani artistes?
Definitely. Not just Pakistani but all foreign artistes who come to our film industry with improper work permits. Firstly, they can’t work without become a member of one of the film federations. Secondly, they don’t have proper work permits and then they earn huge amounts of money here and take it out of our country, as was the case with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
What is your solution?
I want foreigners to be accountable in Bollywood. They should firstly become members of a film federation and must also have a proper work permit. Our producers are also to blame for making wrongful payments to foreign artistes. I think foreign artistes who come without proper papers should be banned. There should be government policy-revision against granting visas to foreign artistes who do not have proper work permits. What happened to Aadesh Shrivastava’s brother Chitresh should not happen to anyone else from our film industry.
Do you think there was something fishy about the way Aadesh’s brother died?
There was definitely some foul play there. There should be a government inquiry into the matter. We’re asking for a proper investigation in this matter.
You seem opposed to foreign artistes coming to India?
I’m opposed to the manner in which they come into our country. So many foreign artistes come here and become major stars. No one has bothered to check their work permits.
Are you referring to Pakistani artistes only?
No, there are other artistes too who are top stars today in Bollywood. They’re working on tourist visas. You tell me, which country allows this? Which country allows any foreigner to work on tourist visa beyond six months or one year?
Maybe we are very hospitable?
That’s fine but are we welcomed in their countries? To give an example, this much talked-about actress from Sri Lanka has suddenly become a spokesperson for our social issues like animal welfare. Does she have the right to be voicing opinions on issues that trouble our country?
What is your solution?
They should have proper work permits. Who gave Rahat Fateh Ali Khan permission to work in India? Is he registered with any film federation in Mumbai? How can he sing in Mumbai then? How can producers in Mumbai engage his services?
Rahat has disappeared?
I am not surprised. He got his FERA violation file closed at the highest level. If it was someone else he’d be inside (read jail). There should be complete accountability about their work permit and their payment procedure in India.