Pakistani stars to perform for tsunami relief

Pakistan’s film industry has offered to take part in an entertainment extravaganza conducted by Bollywood to raise money for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to help tsunami victims.

The offer was made to Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt, who recently completed the film Nazar, an Indo-Pak venture with Pakistani star Meera playing the female lead.

The actress called him to tell him that she, along with other actors and singers of Pakistan, wanted to take part in the programme scheduled for February 6 in Mumbai, Bhatt said.

“When India bleeds, Pakistan cries,” said Bhatt, who is currently in Kathmandu in connection with “Nepal Star”, a singing talent hunt contest organised by Nepal One, a television channel headed by Nalini Singh.

“She told me ‘we want to stand behind you, cry with you and raise money with you’,” an emotional Bhatt said at a media interaction on Friday.

“Once this was thought impossible, but now the walls are tumbling down… People are no longer hanging back for the governments to do something. Civil society, you and me, are ready to act,” he said.

Bhatt said a Pakistani sugar baron Baquar Naqvi, had contacted him, saying he was ready to put up $100,000 to sponsor a cricket match between Bollywood and Pakistani stars in Mumbai, Karachi or Sharjah, to raise funds for tsunami victims in India.

Shaharyar Khan, chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board, too has proposed to India and Sri Lanka to hold a one-day match to help raise funds.

Bhatt said he had put the two through to appropriate people in Mumbai.

The actors, he said, were likely to put up a segment at the February 6 show.

Claiming that the days of films portraying Pakistan as evil were over, the director-turned-producer said: “Though Border and Gadar succeeded, thanks to sound dramaturgy and the right-wing government at the centre, all the current crop has bombed at the box office, despite casting Amitabh Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan.

“The audience is not foolish. You can’t fool them again and again with the same formula. The blinkers placed by the times and leaders have fallen from our eyes.”

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