Lahore is fast becoming the Mumbai crowd’s top holiday destination. From youngsters looking for a cheap vacation to film stars and writers, all are looking forward to crossing the Wagah border in the near future.
Bollywood’s Mr India, Anil Kapoor, revealed his old ties with Pakistan. “My mother is actually from Lahore and we still have a family home in Peshawar,” he said, adding that travelling to the NWFP and seeing the places where his mother spent her childhood were his main reasons for wanting to visit Pakistan. Anil admits that despite this connection, he remains unfamiliar with Pakistan’s traditions and that the extent of his knowledge goes no further than what he has observed in a few films.
“I recently saw Khamoosh Pani and loved it. What a beautifully made film,”
He exclaimed and went on to describe Lollywood productions as honest yet unrealistic. When asked if he wished to follow in the footsteps of Urmila and become involved in an Indo-Pak project, he enthusiastically answered that he would love to do a project in Pakistan and was simply waiting for the right offer. “More than anything else, I wish to influence the peace process between Pakistan and India because I believe it is the people themselves who will provide the solution to our conflicts,” Anil mused. Other reasons for visiting Lahore were, “to taste the food and see the city”.
Columnist-actress Pooja Bedi visited Lahore during the recent Indo-Pak cricket series. “I loved coming to Pakistan and the cricket matches were just so much fun,” said Pooja, who is currently riding high on the success of her first book Time Pass. She especially remembers the warmth with which the Pakistani crowd cheered the Indian cricket team and describes her time in Lahore as both moving and unforgettable. “Everyone in Lahore was just so welcoming and kind that it was almost unbelievable,” she said, adding that she was already looking forward to making a return trip.
Columnist Shobha De has already been to Lahore once and fondly recalls her trip to the Baroodkhana haveli. “Everyone I met went out of their way to make me feel welcome,” she said. She especially remembers meeting activist Tehmina Durrani: “I only spent a couple of hours with her but after our conversation, I now count her as a friend.” Shobha is aware that her books have done well in Pakistan and is eagerly anticipating her next trip here. “I will be coming in July with a fashion label: apart from writing, I also have an interest in reviving the sari and am the brand ambassador for a sari house. The instant they told me about their plans of coming to Lahore, I asked them to count me in,” she said. Someone should tell Shobha though that July isn’t the best month to visit Lahore.