Celebrities like Fawad Khan and Atif Aslam from Pakistan have created waves with their talent in Bollywood, but Indian actors haven't found much space in showbiz on the other side of the border. Pakistani star Ahsan Khan, who blames budget constraints for this, says Hindi filmdom is "the best thing to have happened" to them.
Bollywood will soon see the launch of Pakistani actors Mahira Khan with "Raees" and Saba Qamar with a yet untitled project to be co - produced by Dinesh Vijan and Bhushan Kumar.
Ahsan, who is currently a part of the TV show "Meri Zindagi Hai Tu" for Zindagi channel, is ecstatic about Pakistani actors being widely accepted by the Indian audience.
"I think it is wonderful and one of the best things which could happen to us. . . People in Pakistan love Bollywood films. We always wanted that our talent also goes to India. . . I think it is a great move and I feel the kind of appreciation given to Pakistani actors and singers is amazing, " Ahsan told IANS over phone from Mumbai on a recent visit.
Ahsan added that they "are touched and humbled that Indian people are loving us and the Indian industry is giving us importance".
The actor, who has been a part of Pakistan's small screen industry for almost a decade, feels "that the exchange of this talent should go on because this is the only way that people from both the countries are connected".
Has he bagged any Indian films?
Ahsan replied: "It would be to early to say 'yes', (but) I have had a couple of meetings and I have met a couple of people. It is a very positive response. So let's see if something nice works out. If it does, I would love to work over here. "
He says the Indian film industry "is much bigger than the Pakistani film industry. Pakistan has just started with their film industry. So, the budgets are not as big as that in the Indian film industry.
"It is like Pakistan calling (actors) from Hollywood or Bollywood. . . (But) They might not have the kind of budgets yet that would appeal to a lot of actors to come and work over there.
"I feel the budget right now (for films and shows is) not that much that they could call mainstream Indian actors. But as soon as our film industry has big budgets, they may start hiring Indian people, " the actor said.
Ahsan himself began his acting career with "Nikaah", a drama that he won acclaim for. He hopes that as soon as their industry has bigger budgets, they will start calling in Indian actors.
With a growing trend of Pakistani actors coming to Bollywood, Ahsan says it is "TV and films that connect Pakistan and India more".
"It is this talent exchange, it is this art and medium that can really get people together, " he added.
Would he like to be a part of the Indian small screen?
"I believe that I would like to work in Indian films instead of TV because I have been doing TV for years. . . So I would prefer doing some nice films over here. "
(Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at durga. c@ians. in <mailto:durga. c@ians. in>)