Amid calls for a ban on Pakistani artistes from working in the Hindi film industry, composer Vipin Patwa, who has worked with the neighbouring country's singers like Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, says music has become global and talent is beyond nationality.
Last year, Patwa had to fight to keep Rahat's song "Rog jaane" in the film "Laali Ki Shadi Mein Laddoo Deewana". A year later, he is back with a collection of songs, some of which have been sung by Pakistani singers Atif and Javed Bashir. What makes him look for talent in Pakistan instead of India?
"We are living in 2018 and music has become global. Moreover, talent is beyond nationality. And let's not forget that be it music, story or casting of a film, all decisions are taken collectively by a number of people and not a single person," Patwa told IANS in an email interview.
In February, politician Babul Supriyo had asked for a ban on Pakistani artistes working in the Hindi film industry. He had also objected to the inclusion of Rahat Fateh's voice in the Bollywood film "Welcome To New York".
Back in 2016, due to cross-border India-Pakistan tension, some Indian political outfits imposed a ban on Pakistanis. A few Pakistani theatres also pulled down Indian movies from their big screens.
The ban came after the September 18 terror attack that killed almost 20 Indian soldiers in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.
Does Patwa think it was a good decision to get Atif and Javed Bashir on board, especially after the producer of the film "Daas Dev" said that Atif had refused to promote the song "Sehmi hai dhadkan"?
"Atif was taken on board because his voice was matching the character of the song. This decision was taken way before the controversy started. It's a coincidence that this controversy has started at the time of my music launch. Which artiste wouldn't want to promote his work? If Atif has taken this decision, there must be some reason behind it," said the composer.
Were there talks to remove their songs from the film?
"Removing an artiste from a song merely on the basis of some controversy is the worst and most disrespectful thing as it takes a lot of effort and pain to create a song. I had specially flown to Dubai just to record the song," he said.
Javed Bashir, on the other hand, had come to India almost two years ago.
"That is when I had recorded the song 'Tai toh utte' with him. It is a mere coincidence that I recorded with him and now his song is in the film ('Daas Dev') and is surrounded by controversy," said Patwa.
"The way the song by Atif got affected, it (controversy) may affect the song by Javed Bashir too. I hope for the best and would like the audience to decide," he said.
Music, he feels, has always worked as a bridge between nations.
"If my small efforts can bring two nations together, I would love to be a part of such projects. Moreover, I grew up listening to Nusrat sahab and Mehdi Hasan sahab. Can you ask people to stop listening to their songs? You can't because music is beyond boundaries," he said.
(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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