Time to pray, not blame says film industry

For two days now, the city of Mumbai has been subject to a kind of violence more real and shocking than anything that its film industry could ever show onscreen. No wonder that Bollywood is still trying to come to terms with the terror in its backyard.

Lyricist Javed Akhtar insists the only way to defeat terrorists is to defeat terror. Indians, he says, must unite in the face of adversity rather than play into the hands of those who want the country to fracture along communal lines.

“It’s not the time to blame anyone. It’s time to come together. It’s time to help and assist victims of the terrorist attack. The film industry is in a state of shock. But I am sure that if we stand united, no terrorist attack will be able to divide us. At this moment I don’t want to blame anyone – neither the government nor any of its agencies. We have to do whatever possible to spread love and unity among people of all communities,” he says.

The nation, says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, owes a debt of gratitude to the brave men in uniform who died fighting the attackers. “I salute the Mumbai Police for their efforts. It’s sad that terror has struck Mumbai once again and the city has lost some of its finest officers in the violence. Let us not forget that they gave their lives to save ours,” says Bhatt.

While Bhatt believes that the film industry has a role to play in healing the wounds of terrorism, for now the only concern is safety of those trapped in the circle of violence. “The attack is still on as we speak. It’s not the time to go looking for scapegoats. It’s the time to pray for the safe exit of all innocent people who are still trapped. Terror has no religion. The only way we can fight it is by standing together,” he says.

Actor Farooq Sheikh is however in a more belligerent mood than his colleagues from the film industry. Someone, he says, must explain why and how terrorists were able to mount such a massive operation in the heart of India’s financial and entertainment hub. According to him: “Innocent citizens have had to bear the brunt. Seeing the intensity of the attacks, it is obvious that the perpetrators did not make their plans in a day. It is surprising that our Intelligence agencies had no inkling of what was to come. But even as we look for answers, we must guard ourselves against all attempts to divide the nation on religious grounds. Let us do everything possible to spread the message of love and brotherhood.”

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