Maharashtra Cinema Television Sena (MCTS), a frontal organisation of sthe Shiv Sena, has threatened those using the services of Pakistani artists, he said, adding he received the letter Saturday and it was addressed to all production houses, organisers, event managers and media houses.
Bhatt read out the letter while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here.
The warning by Sena comes in the wake of the detention of Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at Delhi airport on Feb 13 for carrying undeclared foreign currency.
“We at MCTS would like to inform you that henceforth if any of the above mentioned fraternities indulge in such an act wherein the Indian soil is used for Pakistani performers we are determined to teach them a lesson in our Shiv Sena style,” said the letter.
“We also very strongly condemn the manner in which some of you are entertaining few Pakistani artists time and again by conducting events and television programmes, serials etc thus making our Indian artistes helpless, jobless causing grave injustice to their hard-earned talent,” it said.
Bhatt said the threat was a method to continue the war in the field of arts and culture. He said it was the responsibility of the governments at the centre and in Maharashtra to take action in this regard.
“They have to decide whether they allow trampling of individual liberty and can any political group dictate you to do this and not this,” said the filmmaker.
He said while Rahat should be punished and jailed if he had violated the law, the process of cultural exchanges should not be stopped in the larger interest of the people of the entire region.
Bhatt recalled that it was he who brought Rahat to the film industry and he sung for “Paap” and later for “Kalyug”. “We made many films since then and a Bangladeshi and a Nepalese singer also sung for us,” he said.
“A thousand songs are recorded in India and hardly 10 or 12 of them are sung by Pakistanis. It is wrong to say that others are not getting work because of this,” he added.
Bhatt feels threats like these could demolish the bridge he and some others built a few years ago for cultural exchange to remove the bitterness between the two countries.
“We achieved what others could not achieve for 60 years. Before 2006, no Indian films were screened in Pakistan. Today all Indian films are being screened in Pakistan and Indian cinema is making money from this. In return, only two or three of their singers come here,” he said.
The filmmaker emphasised that people of Pakistan are not the government of Pakistan.
“Our Pakistani brothers are also fighting against those people who are involved in bloodshed. They are also victims. It is not proper to put entire people of Pakistan in dock, stop the composite dialogue process and hope that the region will be fine,” he added.