Sunday, February 1, 2015

Media Diplomacy

Media Diplomacy.......


Pakistani Actor Fawad Khan on Saturday january 31st ,2015 became the first Pakistani to win the prestigious Filmfare award in the Best Male Debut category at the annual Indian Filmfare  Awards ceremony held in Mumbai. After Dilip Kumar , Salman , Amir , Shahrukh and Saif he is the sixth "Khan" to get popularity in Bollywood . His uniqueness is that he is not an Indian citizen , he is from across the border from Pakistan and is a megastar of Pakistan television who has acted in many tv serials . He won the filmfare award for movie Khoobsurat .

It was the year 1983 or maybe 1984 when I watched my first Indian movie Amar, Akbar , Anthony at our neighbor "s via a video cassette on their newly bought VCR. Very few families owned a colored television and VCR in those days . We all the neighborhood kids instantly became a big fan of Amitabh . Amitabh Bachan is still my favorite actor . He is not an actor he is a " Desi sensation " .As time passed I watched more Indian movies , read gossip about Bollywood movie stars in the newspapers . We as Pakistanis have always been glamorized by the glitzy world of Bollywood perhaps because our own movie Industry was not doing that well in those days and the most important reason was that Urdu and Hindi are two different languages but almost 90% of the spoken words are the same.
When I moved to United States in the early 1990s I made many Indian friends and found that as we Pakistanis are huge fans of Bollywood movies and actors our Indian neighbors enjoy our TV dramas . They watch all the popular dramas available on video cassettes and DVDs.

I don't know it's a coincidence or just luck that Bollywood has been blessed with many actors with the last name " Khan " , almost all of them have been immensely talented. All of them have given Indian Cinema some huge blockbusters . All of them have been and still are adored by their countrymen.
It was Yusuf Khan aka Dilip Kumar who started his career before partition . His most popular film was Andaz released in 1949, followed by many more super hits .
Amir Khan was the second Khan to follow Dilip Sahab . His movie Qiyamat se Qiyamat Tak which was released in 1998 has been dubbed as the love story of the decade.
Amir Khan is still producing and acting in mega hits after mega hits with his latest blockbuster PK released last year.
1989 saw the rise of another Khan , that was Salman Khan who was followed  by Saif Ali Khan and Shahrukh Khan .
Shahrukh Khan was introduced in  1992 Deewana but it was the epic love story Dil wale Dulhaniya legainge in1995 which gave him the status of a heart throb . He has appeared in over 80 Bollywood films.

Fawad Ali Khan is the newest Khan on the Indian film horizon , he captivated his Indian audiences in the film Khoobsurat opposite Sonam Kapoor . He is slightly unique from the other Khans , he is from neighboring Pakistan but his movie Khoobsurat and his tv drama Zindagi Gulzar Hai both have been playing at the same time in the theaters  and on Zindagi tv channel in India .
I think he and few other Pakistani actors and actresses who are working in Bollywood films currently will gain popularity among their Indian fans very soon .

Social media and broadcast media has shrunk our world . Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world producing even more movies than Hollywood . It is producing movies on a wide variety of topics with numerous foreign actors. Indian Cinema is not just for Indians but the films are watched by people all over the world , the films are dubbed in many languages.

It is true Art lifts all the barriers.Since the ban has been lifted on the screening of Indian movies in Pakistan , the cineplexes in the country  full of enthusiastic fans standing for hours in line to watch latest Bollywood films .India has launched Zindagi channel which broadcasts popular Pakistani television dramas . So the government on both sides of the border have made it easy for the people to enjoy each other"s " media export".
Business head of Zindagi channel explained the idea behind Zindagi Channel ( in an interview )is to corporate the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam : The world is my family . Citizens of the world may have different cultures, traditions, culinary habits or lifestyles, but the stories of their lives are universal.
Bollywood actors like Shattrughan Sina  and Naseeruddin Shah and producer Mahesh Bhatt all have been given a warm welcome by the public during their visits to Pakistan .
Many Pakistani artists have worked in Bollywood since 1980s namely Salma Agha , Zeba Bakhtiyar , Jawed Sheikh and Ali Zafar .

Singers from Pakistan have always been a significant import to Hindi films .

Pakistani Dramas being aired on Zindagi channel in India receiving huge appreciation. It has been since the 1980s when Indian viewers watched PTV dramas like Tanhaiyan and Dhoop Kinarey via video cassettes .

History shows that media has played an important role to promote global understanding, via cultural understanding .

There may be political differences among the leaders in Islamabad and Delhi but the public of the two countries have come very close to each other via media diplomacy !!!