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India: Allow foreign workers and artists to work in film and TV - An Appeal to members of Cine and Television Artistes Association (CINTAA)

17 October 2014

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Some of you may have read about the threat to the foreign (read Pakistani) artists working in Mumbai’s film/TV industry by an industry union called CINTAA (Cine and Television Artistes Association) in the wake of the Indo-Pak border skirmishes. (Please see the links at the bottom which explain what’s going on). Following is a petition that some of us have evolved to send to CINTAA. You may like to sign this petition if you agree with it. You may also forward this others who might be interested in supporting this:

An Appeal to members of Cine and Television Artistes Association (CINTAA) and others in Indian film industry

It has come to the notice of the undersigned (through recent news reports – see links at the bottom) that the members of CINTAA and some others in the Indian film industry are objecting to the participation of artists from foreign countries, especially Pakistan, in Indian movies and television. Among the reasons given for this objection and calls for a ban on Pakistani artistes are (1) that the foreign artistes lack the specified visa and (2) the current border tensions that Pakistan is having with India. Some members of CINTAA and other individuals have also made statements such as “...Pakistan has not been kind to Indian artistes and their artistes come and take away our people’s work here” or “...Pakistani artistes should not be allowed to work in Bollywood as India has great talent and there is no need to look across the border”. There are also reports of a certain new movie being stopped from release as it features a Pakistani artist.

The undersigned would like to lodge a strong protest against this attitude of narrow nationalism in India’s entertainment industry, and would like to request everyone to welcome and support international artistes, regardless of their nationality, as long as they follow the required Indian visa rules. We are definitely in favour of the artistes complying with Indian laws of immigration and work permit etc., but monitoring its compliance should be left to the Indian government authorities. How can a private entity such as CINTAA dictate terms to the artistes without taking into account the larger opinion of the Indian arts and entertainment industry, and of course, the audience?

We appeal to CINTAA and the entertainment industry at large to shun this unnecessarily jingoistic attitude and welcome great talent wherever it may come from. After all, Indian cinema and television is as much popular (and profitable) outside India (including Pakistan) as it is within the country. A large number of Indian movie scenes are being filmed in foreign locales, and the presence of ‘foreign-looking’ faces, especially in the songs, do fascinate the majority of Indian audiences. Large chunk of profits on recent Indian movies are being earned from outside India. (Salman Khan’s ’Kick’ was the all-time highest earning movie in Pakistan). Indian artistes and technicians are working in film industries all over the world, including Hollywood. Pakistan’s recent film ’Zinda Bhag’ had an Indian cinematographer, sound designer, editor and even actors. There is even some Hollywood animation work that is being outsourced to India. In such a thriving globalized market, how can we have such a narrow attitude? Also, good talent from abroad (especially Pakistan) should only add to the competitiveness, thus improve our own talent, rather than affect the earnings of Indian artists. In fact, such a narrow parochial attitude on the part of Indian associations would ultimately be counter-productive, as it might discourage international productions that often work with a mix of Indian and foreign talent to shoot in India. We appeal to CINTAA and all other stakeholders in the entertainment industry to work towards keeping the doors of art and creativity open for cross border flows, even if our governments and armies are in conflict. This would go a long way towards building a climate of peace in the region.

Signatories so far:

Yousuf Saeed, New Delhi
Shohini Ghosh, New Delhi
Shashwati Talukdar
Anand Patwardhan, Mumbai
Iram Ghufran, New Delhi
Paromita Vohra, Mumbai
Anjali Monteiro, Mumbai
K.P.Jayasankar, Mumbai
Saba Dewan, New Delhi
Chintan Girish Modi, Mumbai
Subuhi Jiwani
Yogendra Jawadekar, Mumbai
Chandita Mukherji, Mumbai

Please send your name to me to add to this list. This petition can be also be signed at http://www.indianvoice.org/allow-foriegn-artists-and-talent-to-petition.html
Or http://noborderforartist.blogspot.in/2014/10/an-appeal-to-members-of-cine-and.html

See the following reports for further details:
CINTAA doesn’t want foreign artistes in Indian films, Mukesh Bhatt opposes move
http://www.mid-day.com/articles/cintaa-doesnt-want-foreign-artistes-in-indian-films-mukesh-bhatt-opposes-move/15673152

Pakistan artists in trouble: BJP to oppose the release of Ali Zafar’s ‘Kill Dil’
http://daily.bhaskar.com/news/NAT-TOP-pakistan-artists-in-trouble-bjp-to-oppose-the-release-of-ali-zafar-kill-dil-4777131-NOR.html

Yash Raj Films ’Kill Dil’ faces release threat over tensions in LoC
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/141011/entertainment-bollywood/article/loc-tensions-escalate-impact-bollywood

Indians protests against Pakistani actors to work in Bollywood
http://www.brecorder.com/arts-a-leisure/50-movies/199686-indians-protests-against-pakistani-actors-to-work-in-bollywood.html

Cintaa to take movement opposite Pakistani artistes in Bollywood
http://heights.com.pk/news/story/9852

CINTAA to take action against foreign, Pakistani actors
http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/news/2655665/CINTAA-to-take-action-against-foreign-Pakistani-actors