Even as Pakistan’s Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali explicitly stated that he won’t return to India until things get better between the two countries, Mahesh Bhatt and his leading actor Imran Zahid continue their plans to stage a plain on Indo-Pak amity and have even invited Ghulam Ali to contribute a song to it.
Entitled Milne Do, the play addresses itself to the thorny issue of friendship between the two countries.
Says Imran Zahid, “For me, hope of peace is not just a few pictures and articles in newspapers but respecting, communicating with each other the way we are. I think that represents how educated we are, how liberal we are, how we want to work together and create peace and harmony.”
After Ghulam went on record to state he won’t be performing in India, Imran rang him up to ask him to contribute a song in the play.
Says Imran happily, “Ghulam Ali Saab happily agreed. Music knows no boundaries. Ghulam Ali is as popular in India as Lataji is in Pakistan. Mumbai was once a very progressive city with a liberal tradition of cultural exchange, the decline of liberal thought in Mumbai coincides with the rise of the religious right.”
Imran feels there is no need for hostility between the people of the two countries. “We, as Indians, were treated so well in Pakistan when we went to stage our plays in Karachi and Lahore. It is sad that Mumbai is rather inhospitable to Pakistani artists. We firmly believe when everything fails to convert bitter hostile diplomatic relations between the two arch rivals, art and culture perhaps is the only genre that can do wonders for conversion of antagonistic relations into friendly and cordial relations.”
With Mahesh Bhatt involved, in the play Milne Do, a collaborative effort of actors from India and Pakistan, holds promise.
Says Imran, “Bhatt Saab has the rare ability to incorporate socially relevant, controversial themes and issues without compromising on artistic excellence. Bhatt Saab has been one of the most vocal supporters of the cultural exchange between India and Pakistan, and at the time of staging of Daddy in Karachi he said that be it television, film, theatre or fashion, he would support any activity that brings both nations closer.”
Milne Do will open in Delhi on April 24, at the Shri Ram center before traveling to other cities of India and Pakistan. “Laal band” from Pakistan has composed music and perform live during the play. Suhrita has written the story, who also written Hamari Adhuri Kahani.