Veteran director Khalid Ahmed is in India these days, and finds himself wondering why he doesn’t have more work in India.
“Not many Indian filmmakers or producers know about me. I think one reason why Pakistani directors have never been approached by Indian producers is because there are plenty of them of their own and extremely good ones,” said Ahmed to Times of India.
He went on to recall, “I raised this question to Ketan Mehta and I said that why the hell do you people take our actors, there’s no dearth of actors and acting talent in India. Kabhi kisi ko lete hai, kabhi kisi ko lete hai from Pakistan and almost all leading ladies are being invited to come and act in Indian films, why? He didn’t have a very good answer.”
“First he said, ‘Aap log achche hote hai, khush shakal hote hai, you are good looking people.’ But there is no dearth of good looking people in India. Then he said that may be there is attraction and a curiosity when it comes to people from across the border.”
He arrives at the reason for lack of work for Pakistani directors in India himself.
“Just like actors if directors are also invited to come and work here, they would love to,” he says. “Everyone wants to come and work here as it is a bigger industry. Our film industry is a very nascent film industry and none of the directors has really made a name for himself. The present wave of cinema making in Pakistan is only 3-4 years old. In between there was a huge gap, so nobody has made a mark to the extent that they should be called upon to do something in India, I think.”
Still, Ahmed has a dream project in mind.
“I want to do a story in the background of Bihar’s Muslim aristocracy, with the same culture, lingo. It has always been a dream to do it in Bihar. If somebody really gives me money and wants me to do something in India, though this sounds like a dream, I would really like to make a film based on ‘Aag Ka Darya’, novel by Qurratulain Hyder. It has been translated in English also, ‘The River of Fire’. It is kind of cultural history of India beginning right from the times of Gautam Buddha till the Mauryas, Guptas and later on what happened when Muslims and Britishers came, what happened when Partition happened. It is very interesting chronology.”