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Web Desk
August 16, 2019

‘The problem with Priyanka Chopra’, writes Mehwish Hayat

Web Desk
Fri, Aug 16, 2019

Priyanka Chopra was called out for warmongering by a Pakistani girl at an event in Los Angeles.

KARACHI: Pakistani actress Mehwish Hayat, who was recently conferred with Pride of Performance award by the Prime Minster of Norway, has once again highlighted what ails Indian actors and the Bollywood as a whole.

In an opinion piece for CNN, the Pakistani star spoke about the message of peace and how can those who have the power to influence millions can play an active and important role in achieving this, especially in the ongoing crisis between Indian and Pakistan over Kashmir.

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra was called out at the BeautyCon summit in Los Angeles for her hypocrisy by a questioner. She was asked to explain her tweet in which she had supported war with Pakistan.

Her answer to the question was rather insulting and humiliating.

“Chopra's response to her questioner in LA ("I hear you……. but I am patriotic"), as well as the February tweet, did have the effect of both shining a light on the crisis in Kashmir (despite India's media blackout and food blockade there), and forcing many of us to think about celebrity activism, its uses -- and its abuses,” Hayat wrote.

“Celebrities who act as charity spokespeople should always focus on humanitarianism. Chopra -- again, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador -- should not be using her voice to legitimise a regime opposed to the values she claims to represent,” she further said.

Hayat also exposed the jingoism in Indian film industry and its active role in fueling hate among the masses.

“This is important in Hollywood, but just as much in Bollywood, where the industry has too often been used to fuel hate and Islamophobia.”

“Indian PM Modi has arguably co-opted and weaponised the country's film industry. It is difficult, often impossible, for Pakistani actors to find work in India. Pakistan is a Muslim majority nation, and Islamophobia is a top-down industry in India: at the top, hyper-nationalist films, songs and slogans teach the masses to hate. At the grassroots, Muslims have been killed for so-called "crimes," such as eating beef,” Hayat opined.

“This makes Chopra's mistakes potentially all the more costly. Rather than use her position as a US-based celebrity to broaden what it means to be an Indian celebrity, she has fallen into the same jingoistic role that her fellow countrymen are forced to adopt at home, she further said.

Stressing upon the importance of being a celebrity, Hayat advised her fellows to work to ‘unite people --- not divide them’.

“This where Priyanka Chopra and others have made a mistake: by lending their name to racism dressed up as patriotism, they have done us all a disservice,” Hayat said.

The actress also pointed out that grave situation in the held Kashmir and warned of playing politics on such issues.

She asked everyone with a power to change people’s mind must ‘focus on human suffering’.

“It is something I would love to work with my Indian colleagues on -- including Priyanka Chopra,” she concluded.