190609 Dia Mirza
Dia Mirza Image Credit: Twitter

Actress Dia Mirza says the ban on Pakistani stars working in India is a disservice to both sides.

Mirza, who plays a Pakistani woman in the web series ‘Kaafir’, was speaking at the show’s launch in Mumbai.

Pakistani artists were barred from working in India by the All India Cine Workers Association (AICWA) after an attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, in February in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.

“Art always suffers at the hands of fear... but also art is also reunited and refuelled because of fear. I believe that these prejudices that have been imposed on us, not just take us away from our neighbours, it takes us away from ourselves,” Mirza said. “And when we deny ourselves the opportunity to communicate and exchange... we are only expressing to the world how fearful we are.”

Directed by Sonam Nair and written by Bhavani Iyer, ‘Kaafir’ is set in Kashmir. It is about a Pakistani woman and her child who are held as prisoners and how a journalist tries to get justice for them. Mirza plays the prisoner named Kainaaz Akhtar.

As her role was very intense, the actress said she still carries the hangover of the character in her mind.

“There were times during the shooting when the shot was over, the camera was off and I was still in the character and broke down crying. My director would come, hug me and we would cry together,” she said.

“At times, Mohit [co-star Mohit Raina] would look at me and say ‘Don’t get into the character so much, you won’t be able to come out.’ I think I had no choice...…this character was pulling me to go deeper,” Mirza said.

Raina, who plays the journalist, said: “It was very challenging for me and at the same time easy because it was such a well-written story and each character was so clear. We always knew what Sonam wanted that it was easy that way.

“But the challenge was to deliver that. As actors, our vision is limited at times because I am only thinking about my character, but Sonam had a broader view as a director and that really helped.”

‘Kaafir’ will premiere on ZEE5 on June 15.