India & Pakistan have shared inconsistent socio-political equation ever since the creation of the two nations. There has been an infrequent exchange of talent between the countries over the last few decades. However in last one decade since Ali Zafar’s foray into Bollywood with his debut film Tere Bin Laden (2010) the doors for Pakistani actors opened in Bollywood in an unprecedented way.
There have been a few successful exports from Pakistan to India such as superlative performers like Fawad Khan, Ali Zafar, Mahira Khan and Saba Qamar. There is a perception that Pakistani actors are greedy for Bollywood offers, however, there are actors who dared to refuse big Bollywood film offers and here is a list of some of these names:
The only Pakistani female actor to be nominated in the prestigious Filmfare Best Actress category, Saba Qamar is one of the finest talents of Pakistani film & television industry. The actress has become a household name with her blockbuster dramas and fascinating characters such as Fouzia in Baaghi and Mannat in Cheekh. The actress was always lured by Bollywood directors and producers for leading roles but she dared to refuse the movies and work on her terms.
Saba refused Diana Penty’s role in Cocktail, Sonam Kapoor’s role in Delhi 6 and an undisclosed movie opposite Emraan Hashmi which she mentioned on Tonite With HSY (season 1). Saba mentioned that she will only work with A-listers like Khans and Kapoors as she is an A-list actress here in Pakistan. She wouldn’t compromise on the production value and the team that she would work with.
Fawad Khan is undoubtedly the most successful export of Pakistan to India, the actor managed to work with the biggest film banners such as Dharma Productions and actresses such as Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhat & Sonam Kapoor.
The actor who debuted in Bollywood with Anil Kapoor’s Khoobsurat (2014) refused the next film offer from the banner, a film which was offered to Fawad opposite Sonam again based on the Battle of Bittora. Fawad refused this period magnum opus citing date issues but he mentioned on the talk show of Niranjan Iyenger that he had an issue over a steamy kissing scene in the film.
The reigning queen of Lollywood, riding high on the wave of her Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, recently spilled the beans on her refusal for big Bollywood offers such as Huma Qureshi’s role in Dedh Ishiqya (2014) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s role in Fanney Khan (2018).
Mehwish refused to shoot the kissing scene with Arshad Warsi in Dedh Ishqiya and decided not to do Fanney Khan due to the turbulent Indo-Pak relations.
The Pakistani legend, Shaan Shahid has famously refused Aamir Khan’s blockbuster film Ghajini (2008) as they offered him the villain’s role and Shaan didn’t want an Indian film depicting a Pakistani superstar as a villain.
Shaan is a great ambassador of Pakistan and he is known for giving it back to the naysayers of Pakistan.
The hazel-eyed superstar is yet to make his Lollywood debut, although he made a refreshing special appearance in a Pakistani independent movie, Azaad. Imran himself has confessed on various platforms that he refused Aditya Roy Kapur’s role in Aashiqui 2 and Ranveer Singh’s part in Ram-Leela.
The actor had to refuse these films as he was in a bound contract with a production house which didn’t allow him to sign any film. He, later on, bagged Bipasha Basu starrer, Creature 3D.
The supremely talented, Sanam Saeed, known for her blockbuster dramas such as Zindagi Gulzar Hai and bonafide roles in films like Cake. The actress refused to travel India to audition for the role of the leading lady in the film Raees starring the king of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan. The role, later on, was offered to Mahira Khan and the film was a box-office success.
Sanam revealed that she prioritized her personal life, her impending wedding and her career in Pakistan so she couldn’t take out time for Raees.
The new Lollywood star on the block, Kubra Khan, signed the Arshad Warsi starrer Bollywood film, Welcome 2 Karachi but later opted out of it after shooting for a few days as she had an issue with the film’s anti-Pakistan content. Kubra was signed on for a pivotal role but she decided to take this sensitive decision for the love that she has for her country. The makers used a few of her shots in the film nonetheless. After this experience, Kubra came to Pakistan to start her acting career and the rest is history.
Hamza Ali Abbasi
The actor who believes in patriotism over entertainment, said no to a supporting yet pivotal role in Akshay Kumar’s Baby. The role was later on done by Mikaal Zulfiqar and the film was an average success.
These bonafide actors do not believe in compromising on their dignity and settling for less. More power to these precious assets of the Pakistani fraternity.