NEW DELHI: Pulling out Pakistani TV shows from his Zindagi channel was a symbolic act of protest against continuous acts of terrorism, said Rajya Sabha MP and Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra.He said he had asked for Pakistani on-screen characters to censure the Uri assault, however they declined to do as such.
Mr Chandra said the choice of pulling back Pakistani shows was "unfortunate", yet included "love can't be one-sided".He said he had attempted a few times in the previous couple of years to bring individuals from India and Pakistan together. "Pakistan's on-screen characters additionally got an opportunity to go into Indian drawing rooms through Zindagi, however they (individuals in Pakistan) have over and over done wrong things – first Pathankot, then Uri," Mr Chandra said.
"On the off chance that you need to battle, battle from the front, yet why assault dozing officers? Along these lines, we have chosen not to showcase Pakistan's projects," Mr Chandra said.
The choice has been taken in spite of the way that Zindagi as of now has around 300 hours of programming which they purchased for around Rs. 60 crore. He said the cash spent was "not imperative" for him including: "Our nation's pride and kinsmen's emotions are."Zindagi — launched in 2014 — lived up to its tagline 'Jodey dilon ko' by bringing the Indian TV viewers closer to stories and talent from the other side of the border.
It also opened up avenues for Pakistani actors like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, who are among those who were given an ultimatum by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to leave India following the Uri attack which left 18 Indian soldiers dead.
Chandra said, on their part, they called and requested artistes like Fawad, Mahira, Ali Zafar, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam, Veena Malik, Imran Abbas and more to "simply condemn the terrorist attack on sleeping soldiers".
"Nobody did it. We even said don't name Pakistan, but they didn't do it… What to do?"
The media baron said as an Indian conglomerate, the Zee family has always extended an olive branch to Pakistan, but now was the time to take a step back as "somewhere you have to understand your people's sensibility".
He said he had been friends with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. "But when the Prime Minister of that country speaks the same language in the United Nations, then I was forced to do it (pull the programmes). That doesn't mean that Nawaz Sharif will not remain my friend," he said.
Chandra said he had spoken to Dharma Productions head honcho Karan Johar asking him "not to work with them (Pakistani talent) in future." On Tuesday, MNS supporters protested outside Johar's office for starring Fawad in his movie "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil". The MNS has threatened to disrupt the movie's release.
Chandra said he hoped that one day relationships between both countries would improve so that they could all work together again. "Our doors are not permanently shut".
Zindagi is now also undergoing a revamp by introducing three new Indian productions and one show from Turkey, apart from showcasing world cinema on weekends. Two shows from Turkey – "Fatmagul" and "Feriha" are already on air.