Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feroz's faux pas

Veteran actor Feroz Khan did what his brother Akbar Khan's magnum opus Taj Mahal failed to do in Pakistan. Generate publicity! The hot-headed stalwart's comments not only grabbed the attention of aficionados in Islamabad, but also forced President Musharraf to blacklist him from the country.
The Jaanbaaz Khan, as he is fondly known in India, had gone to Pakistan on a promotional Bollywood tour. According to reports, Feroz not only had a verbal duel with a television anchor, but was also heard saying: "We have a Muslim President and Sikh Prime Minister in India, but in Pakistan Muslims kill Muslims."


While the Hindu hardliners in New Delhi extolled him for calling a spade a spade, Pakistan media dumped him as nothing more than a "comic moron". "His antics were outrageous, in eminently poor taste…. In a third country all it required was to bounce him off the party. But that could not be done here because he was our guest," the Daily Times said. Though his near and dear ones, including his son Fardeen, tried to do a damage control, but that wasn't enough to please Mr President.
Ironically, Khan had praised Musharraf as a "true humanitarian" when he arrived in Lahore along with other Indian actors. "Hats off to President Musharraf, for recognising the fact that art has no boundaries, faith or face. It is simply 'art' and that it is meant to be shared," a report quoted him as saying.


But amidst all this brouhaha, what came as a surprise was that more than Khan's comment, media discussed much about Musharraf's subsequent action. "We can only shake our heads in bewilderment. General Musharraf…has personally deemed fit to pass an order to ban the entry of a has-been Bollywood actor, a man who is nothing more than a comic moron?" the Daily Times said.
The actor loves to court controversy, as there had been similar instances in the past where the actor gave a proof of whimsical conduct. The paper further says that Musharraf's directive will give Khan an undue publicity, which an actor of his cadre doesn't deserve.


"Feroz Khan will wear this as a badge of honour in India and go around with a panache he does not deserve. He was a mediocre actor even in his heyday." "Whoever had advised General Musharraf on this has done great wrong to Pakistan. How we wish this had not been done and this man assigned to where he truly belongs: Oblivion," the paper concludes.

(Wriiten for HT on May 23, 2006)

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