Filmstar Shaan Shahid has acquired quite a reputation recently for his (often misconstrued) statements about working in Bollywood which inevitably triggered bigger debates about patriotism and artistic freedom.
Recently, the Zarrar star called out celebrated Indian lyricist Javed Akhtar for his controversial comments about the 26/11 Mumbai attacks while the latter was attending Lahore’s Faiz Festival. He also shared reservations about Akhtar being granted a visa to enter Pakistan when he held such hatred for the country.
Now, in a newly surfaced video, the Arth actor has once again expressed his displeasure about India and its artists. Speaking with a local publication, when the actor was asked why he didn’t choose to work in Bollywood or an Indian project, Shahid shared a rather confusing analogy.
“If you are a good doctor, then you usually offer your services where there’s poverty and unprecedented illness,” he shared, adding, “Hence, I work in Pakistani films to entertain my entertainment-deprived audience. This soil needs me more; this soil has nurtured me into the artist that I am today, therefore Pakistanis have a right to me.”
He was then questioned about the famous narrative of how art transcends borders. To this, the actor quipped, “Well, they [Pakistani artists who say this] should try acquiring a visa first [from India].”
Last year, Shahid opened up about the reasons for his refusal to venture into Bollywood, even with Aamir Khan’s Ghajini, as well as his staunch support for Pakistani cinema despite its many shortfalls. Speaking of the patriots who claim to be patriots until an offer from Bollywood arrives, the hosts asked the Yalghaar actor how many offers he had rejected.
“I keep receiving offers and I keep refusing them. And after saying no to some from Bollywood, things I’ve had to face in Pakistan were unreal,” Shaan replied.
Naturally reminded of the time he refused Ghajini and received flak for it from a certain few, the actor elaborated, “I was offered a character that anyone in India could’ve done, it wasn’t something Bollywood needed me for.”
The Waar star added, “I only asked them one question, ‘Why do you guys want a Pakistani for this?’ They said ‘No one will be able to tell you’re Pakistani.’ I told them ‘Of course, they will.’ And it was the character of a villain, a very gruesome one at that, someone who sells body parts of children and whatnot. So, for three to four days, I kept trying to explain my case to Aamir and then I resorted to a Punjabi example; I told him ‘If you’re India’s heavyweight, I am Pakistan’s heavyweight, I won’t lose a fight for money’.”
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