We all know how weak is India and Pakistan’s relationship but the presence of Indian artists and filmmakers at the Pakistan International Film Festival (PIFF) being held in Karachi has broken the barrier. PIFF has brought together the celebrities from India and Pakistan under one roof despite major bilateral issues between the two countries. The event is the very first edition of Pakistan International Film Festival, held on 29th March 2018. It witnessed 22 artists and filmmakers from India such as Vishal Bhardwaj of Haider fame, actor Nandita Das, SS Rajamouli and Vinay Pathak.

Sarangi player Harsh Narayan joined screenwriter Anjum Rajabali, Asim Raza and Sajal Aly in a panel discussion about Indo-Pakistan collaborations, moderated by Asif Noorani. They spoke of the political friction between the two countries, past collaborations and how to keep art and cultural exchange alive despite everything.

The first-panel discussion during the fourth and final day brought the topic ‘Films for Change: Socially Motivated Content in the South Asian film’ in discourse, which had Indian filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj, Pakistani director Jami, Nishtha Jain, drama producer Momina Duraid, ace scriptwriter Haseena Moin and various other celebrities as panelists.

Vishal expressed his pride over the number of Bollywood films making it to international film festivals especially his own critically acclaimed films like ‘Omkara’, ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Haider’. Replying to a question, he joked how he had decided to rope in actor Shahid Kapoor for ‘Haider’ as he had not only agreed to be a part of the film cost-free but was also ready to go bald for his role. Vishal also expressed his liking towards ‘items songs’ and how they add vigor to a film, much to an audience’s delight.

With the ban on Pakistani artists working in Bollywood, Nandita in a recent interview dismissed the ban and said, “There should be no restrictions on borders.” She further went on to say, “I am in Pakistan to break these barriers. We are neighbors friends and share similar food, language and culture so it’s bizarre that restrictions are placed on us visiting the other country or viewing their works.”