Mahesh Bhatt criticises cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s concert

Mumbai, Oct 8 (IANS) After the cancellation of Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali’s concert here following threats from Shiv Sena, veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt has criticised the move, saying cultural ties should not be snapped on the basis of political talks between countries.

The 75-year-old singer was scheduled to perform here and in Pune this week as part of the fourth death anniversary tribute to late singer Jagjit Singh.

But the performance was called off on Wednesday after Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt his live concert here.

“It’s a familiar nightmare that keeps on recurring in this part of our country and one has seen irrespective of the government in the seat of power, the peace activists of the civil society aiming for keeping cultural ties intact with Pakistan have to face roadblocks like this,” Bhatt told IANS over phone.

“But even if level talks are not taking place, let the civil society be given rights to keep their cultural ties intact through the performing arts,” he added.

The filmmaker, who has given a sample of his work to the neighbouring country with a play based on his 1989 film “Daddy” staged in Pakistan earlier this year, noted that despite Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s effort to bridge the gap between countries, nothing seems to have changed.

“During the Congress regime, we had to go through similar scenario where Pakistani actors and performers were obstructed from performing,” he said.

“Then came this new government and in the beginning there were signals given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who sent an invitation to Nawaz Sharif, saying that they wish to bridge the distances that exist between the two countries and nothing much happened on that front,” he added.

Ali, who made an entry in Indian cinema with his popular song “Chupke chupke raat din” for B.R. Chopra’s “Nikaah”, also said that he is hurt and sad.

Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra on Thursday extended an invite to Ali to perform in the capital.

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