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Gautam Gambhir blasts Bollywood stars sympathising with Pakistani artists

India Today logo India Today 18-10-2016

Gautam Gambhir has lashed out at Bollywood celebrities, who have expressed their support towards Pakistani artists performing in this country in the wake of the Uri attacks carried out by Pakistani-backed terrorists. The Indian government responded with surgical strikes across the Line of Control in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

However, several quarters in India have also demanded a complete ban over Pakistani actors and singers plying their trade in India. The likes of Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar had become household names in India over the last few years.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, a political outfit, has issued veiled threats of vandalism to theaters in Mumbai if they screen filmaker Karan Johar's "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil", which features Fawad Khan. In fact, the makers have met with top Mumbai cops to seek protection.

But amid protests against Pakistani artists performing in India, several Bollywood stars have also spoken out in support of their colleagues from across the border.

"They (Pakistani actors) are artists, not terrorists. It's the government who gives them permits and visas," Salman Khan had said in a press conference last month.

Bollywood director Anurag Kashyap has also come out in support of Johar's latest release.

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Gambhir, who made a successful return to the Indian Test team with scores of 29 and 50 against New Zealand in Indore said he was shocked that Bollywood celebrities still wanted cricket and movies to be kept ahead of national sentiments.

"I want to ask those supporting Pakistani artists, if they would have done the same if any of their family members would have died."

Gambhir said national interest should be kept ahead of commercial interests and stepped out to hit criticism surrounding the opposition to Pakistani artists for a six.

"National interest is above anything else. Just because you sit in an air-conditioned room, you can say you shouldn't relate cricket and movies to politics," he said. "Ask anyone who has lost a family member to terror attacks and you will get your answer. "

"There should be no cricket and Bollywood ties with Pakistan till Pakistan stops cross-border terrorism.

India have for long refused to resume bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan. The last time Pakistan visited India for a one-on-one series was back in 2012-13. Since then, the arch-rivals have met in only ICC events - Champions Trophy (2013), World Cup (2015) and World T20 (2016).

Watch: No cricket with Pakistan now — Gautam Gambhir

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