The shooting of Amitabh Bachchan's next project, and a commercial featuring cricketers Virendra Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina, were voluntarily paused for two hours on Sunday in Mumbai due to a protest against the Pulwama terror attack.
In the wake of the terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir that claimed the lives of at least 40 soldiers, 24 film associations, including Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) and Indian Film & Television Directors' Association (IFTDA), staged a protest at Film City in Goregaon.
Cricketers Sehwag, Singh, Raina and VVS Laxman, among others, were shooting for a commercial in Film City, but they joined the protest to show their solidarity.
"Whatever we say or do will perhaps be less for the soldiers and their family. We can only thank them and should do whatever can to help them. We are pained but are hopeful for a better time for all of us in the future," Sehwag said.
Harbhajan said he hopes the death of the soldiers does not go in vain. "These are tough times, but let's stay united so that they aren't able to break us. I'm grateful to all the soldiers who protect us around the clock. Cricketers, actors aren't heroes. The real hero of the nation are our soldiers," Harbhajan said.
According to sources, Bachchan was shooting for Brahmastra at the venue but the megastar could not step out to join the protest as he was in his get up for the film.
The protest saw participation from major film bodies and the association of cinematographers, make-up artists, costumes, junior artists, editors, fighters and dancers.
Casting director-filmmaker Mukesh Chhabra, actresses Nia Sharma, Isha Kopikar and others were also present at the protest to show their solidarity. Trade Analyst Taran Adarsh had tweeted about the protest that was to be held at Film City today from 2-4pm.
FWICE - the umbrella organisation of 24 crafts - organises solidarity march at Film City gate today [Sunday] *from 2 pm to 4 pm* to pay respect to the martyrs of #PulwamaAttack... Ashoke Pandit [Chief Advisor, FWICE and President, IFTDA] pic.twitter.com/m3IWaQhRMz— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) February 17, 2019
BN Tiwari, president of Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), told PTI that all the film bodies have decided to "completely boycott" any Pakistani artist working in Hindi films. "We won't let any film release which has even a song by any Pakistani singer, forget about actors. We will take strong action if we come to know anything," he said.
President of IFTDA, Ashoke Pandit, echoed the sentiment and said that the film bodies have decided to boycott former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu. Sidhu has courted controversy for his comments on the Pulwama attack.
"We won't let Pakistan-lover Navjot Singh Sidhu, and others like him, to work in the country. As a federation, we won't let any anti-national work here, we are clear about it," Pandit said.