Pakistani actress Mehwish Hayat has accused popular cinema of fueling the rise of Islamophobia.
And she is especially focusing on India, saying its massive film industry makes “countless films showing Pakistanis as the villains”.
Her comment comes right in the middle of a political stand-off between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, which has provoked many comments from persons including celebrities.
Hayat was speaking at an event in Oslo, Norway where she was awarded the Pride of Performance award by Norway’s Prime Minister.
During her acceptance speech, she said:
“Our neighbours have one of the largest film industries in the world. And in a time where they could have used the power they wield to bring us together, what do they do? They make countless films showing Pakistanis as the villains. I have lost count of the number of films even in the last year that Pakistan has been shown in a bad light. I understand that given our history our upbringing and the politics of the region, it is very difficult to be neutral and in being so can be seen as unpatriotic. However, if we want any semblance of peace for future generations we as artistes have to see beyond nationalism and take a stand.”
She then went on to criticize Hollywood saying it had inflicted damage on Pakistan with its portrayals.
She says she isn’t asking for positive representations but more balanced ones, instead of just gun wielding terrorists or subjugated women.
Hayat however believes the Pakistani film industry has the power to help mold a better picture of the country for international audiences.