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I wouldn’t want to comment anything on Pakistani artistes ban: Naseeruddin Shah

naseerCall it the sign of the times, or the mood of the nation, that actor Naseeruddin Shah, who has never been known to mince words, suddenly went quiet and diplomatic when asked to comment on Pakistani actors and artistes being asked to leave India, by both political parties and popular TV news media.

Naseer, who has himself worked in several Pakistani films, including ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ (2007), which was much-feted in India, said he feared his words would inevitably get misconstrued by the press, even if he made a simple point on the issue: “I wouldn’t want to comment anything at all. News reporting has become like Chinese whispers. I have faith in the law of the land, and they should protect those who are here to work with the government’s permission, and with a valid visa.”

Speaking at the “in-conversation series” at the ongoing 7th Jagran Film Festival (JFF) in Mumbai, Naseer was asked to comment on the distinction between art, culture and politics, to which he gently replied, “It makes no difference to me. This is the game politicians play, and they will continue to play it.” Incidentally, Naseer’s Pak film ‘Zinda Bhaag’ (2013) had opened his retrospective section at the JFF in New Delhi in July this year.

Expressing his angst at the continual attack on celebrities expressing their opinions publicly still, the old enfant terrible of Bollywood maintained, “What annoys me is if I am asked to prove my patriotism. I don’t see why on earth should I have to do that. I don’t want to boast about my brother (retired Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah), as he pursued what he wanted to. He has even fought war for this country. It’s his achievement, not mine. I am a performer, and I have contributed to the nation in my own way. Who can deny that?”

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