Pakistani actors Mehwish Hayat and Fahad Mustafa, who visited Gulf News office on Sunday afternoon before attending the premiere of their festive release Load Wedding in Dubai, claim they weren’t dwelling on their unofficial boycott in Bollywood.
Recently, a ban was in place in India as a result of escalating violence in Indian-administered Kashmir by Indian and Pakistani military forces.
“I don’t if the ban is pukka [solid] or no … But Pakistani cinema is evolving and we have different stories to tell. I saw that Shahid Kapoor film [Batti Gul Meter Chalu] and they are copying our films… and that’s not a bad thing. But I don’t think we should be having this debate,” said Mustafa in an interview held at the Gulf News headquarters.
Hayat pitches in by claiming that Kapoor’s forthcoming release Batti Gul is “inspired” by Actor In Law, the 2017 Pakistani blockbuster that featured Mustafa in the lead role and was directed by Load Wedding director Nabeel Qureshi.
Gulf News couldn’t independently verify their claims. But Hayat, who plays the Punjabi village belle Meeru in Load Wedding, says the focus should be on the bigger picture.
“But we should be focusing on our own industry. They [Bollywood] are real big… We can’t show their movies when they are not showing our films. It has to be mutual and then we can talk about friendships. First, we need to build ourselves so that we can compete with films from the rest of the world and not just Bollywood,” said Hayat.
Both the actors, who star in the satire, believe that their latest film will help them strengthen Pakistan’s rising film industry.
“Load Wedding has a different kind of vibe to it. It’s a well-made film which will define Pakistani cinema in a new way. This is our best work till date,” said Mustafa, who plays a Punjabi simpleton Raja in the film set against the backdrop of the culture of weddings in Pakistan and the pressures faced by families to hold a lavish gig.
Load Wedding is out in the UAE cinemas on August 23. Read the full interview in Gulf News tabloid! soon.