Congress MP Shashi Tharoor used the Tata Literature Live Festival platform to express his displeasure at the way things were being handled by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena(MNS), especially regarding the freedom of entertainers and the industry hosting foreign actors from Pakistan. He was speaking as part of a debate organised during the festival. The topic of discussion was 'India and Pakistan can never be friends'.

 

 

Expressing displeasure with the way the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil  controversy was handled by the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Tharoor  stated that he favoured inviting Pakistani artists, creative people and businessmen to boost bilateral ties. "We have to create a 'home away from home' situation for them," he said, adding that hostility between the two countries "can be a mood but not a policy".

 

 

Adding to the political hotbed that this topic has turned into, he also made a jibe at the way Fadnavis handled the film. MNS opposed the film because it had Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, Tharoor said, "Certainly no Congress Chief Minister would have ever negotiated (with outfits like MNS)."

 

 

This matter has divided the entertainment industry, politicians and the armed forces in the country. The Raj Thackeray-led party (MNS) later relented on the condition that the producers would give a donation to Army welfare fund.

 

 

Anytime there is tension at the Indo-Pak border, the ripples are felt across industries – sport and entertainment mainly, because these two professions involve a lot of culture exchange and interaction with the neighbours.

 

 

Our ties with Pakistan are not very cordial at present and to make matters worse Fawad Khan, a Pakistani actor, is in the spotlight for earning from the country through dubious means. This latest episode only strengthens the case the MNS has against them.

 

 

Tharoor contended that people-to-people cooperation would improve bilateral ties. "Create an umbrella where artists, the fashion designers and genuine businesspersons would interact more frequently, form associations which would create a constituency of goodwill," Tharoor said.