Yesterday I reported that rumor that Salman called Raj Thackeray to ask for mercy for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees for the good of the film industry. Today, following up on that, Salman really really put his neck on the line.
First, the IMPPA (Indian Motion Picture Producers Association) announced a ban on all Pakistani artists and technicians. Backing up a second, who the heck is the IMPPA? I would have just accepted them as some industry group, except there was just some rumbling in the news about Siddharth Roy Kapur taking over from Mahesh Bhatt as the head of the Film and Television Producers Association of India, a totally separate group.
The IMPPA sounds like an industry group, doesn’t it? Like a union or labor group. But, it’s not!!! At least not so far as I can tell. It looks like it’s a privately traded company with multiple members that invests in film. It does have influence in the industry, it has a lot of members and I am sure it has its fingers in a lot of pies, and also does a lot of good for the industry. But it is not a labor organization, it does not by default speak for the entire industry. That would be the FTPAI, a totally different not for profit group. Which I am pretty sure is not going to announce a ban on Pakistani artists, because it is run by Mahesh Bhatt right now who is not that kind of guy.
(He’s the kind of guy who will steal from Pakistani artists and then acknowledge them at the last minute)
Also, I suspect the FTPAI is a more active and forward thinking and wealthy and powerful group just based on the website. FTPAI looks like what I would expect from a large not-for-profit that cares about its international presence. The IMPPA looks more like an organization that is a little behind the times, a little slow, and not that interested in reaching out to new members.
But even this slightly old-fashioned group has some people who object to this ban. Rahul Aggarwal, a member of the IMPPA executive council, submitted his letter of resignation and submitted a copy of that letter to the media. My favorite quotes are below, you can view the whole thing here.
I strongly feel that art is above politics and as the custodians of this art; it is our responsibility to bring people together rather than divide them….
Banning one another is not the solution, rather bringing everyone together and showing the world that terrorism cannot divide these two great nations can become a beacon for acceptance and hope, two characteristics that are the complete opposites of the fundamentalists that want us to go to war with one another. It is we the people of both countries who have the power to bring real change and I believe that this change could have been brought about by further strengthening our ties with Pakistani artists of all kinds and not banning them…..
Though I strongly condemn the terrorist attack, I believe that the soft power of art is sometimes more effective than the hard line of sanctions and war.
Good letter, right? The cynical part of me is saying that the IMPPA took this action in order to get good headlines, and Rahul Aggarwal released his letter in order to take part in those headlines. But it’s still a good letter!
Also, whoa! He is the son of the IMPPA president!!! This suddenly turned into some kind of father against son crazy melodrama!!! Why am I the only one mentioning this? Maybe I’m miss-reading the information, but I’m pretty sure I am reading it right. Oh, and the only film credit I am seeing for him is producing Policegiri with Sanjay Dutt. I feel like working with Sanjay Dutt in recent years would be a good way for people to become open minded.
(I love Trishul)
Okay, after all of that background, you ready to hear how this relates to Salman? Being Human launched their jewelry line today (yay!), which meant Salman had a press conference. And he was asked what he thought about the IMPPA ban. To which he said…HE DOES NOT LIKE IT!!! From Bollywoodhungama:
“The action taken against terrorists was a proper one. Pakistani artistes are just artists and not terrorists. Terrorism and art are two different subjects.” He questioned the interviewer asking her, “Do you believe artists are terrorists? They come with a valid visa. Who gives them visa? Our government gives them a visa and work permit.”
Dang, Salman! I guess of the biggies, he is the only one really able to speak out. Shahrukh can’t, because it’s affecting his own productions (Raees and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in which he has a cameo). Aamir is probably still running scared a little from the last time he took a stand. And Amitabh usually holds back a little before deciding to speak out.
So, either Salman is going to be left hanging and get himself in trouble (again), or this is going to turn into something like Shahrukh’s birthday “intolerance” comment, and all the others will slowly come around to back him up in their own way. Or, Salman will back off over the next few days as he realizes he is out there on his own. Well, him and Rahul Aggarwal.