Amidst the controversy regarding Pakistani actress Meera's kiss, Mahesh Bhatt has come under fire from
the certain section of the industry, which claims that the veteran director is using the media to promote
However, the director stoutly denies the charges and retorts, "Why would I want to indulge in something suicidal? The film is scheduled to release in June. I would have been in an advertising company if I could generate such a controversy."
Talking to the press Bhatt alleges that vested interests are trying to derail the delicate India-Pakistan peace process by raising a religious storm over a kissing scene involving a Pakistani actress in an Indian film.
"It is just a peck on the lips... 'Nazar' is not an erotic film, it is bizarre that the issue has been blown out of proportion," he told reporters.
According to him, those voicing their protest constitute a small fraction and do not reflect the views of the Pakistani establishment".
The similar allegations of "playing with the media for publicity" has been labelled against Meera by Pakistan's information minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad to which the actress says," Ask the minister how we could gain from this sort of publicity? The film will never get a release in Pakistan in any case. Why would somebody like me who is a simple, good girl wish such negative publicity upon herself?"
While in Mumbai Meera has also received fresh threat calls and demanded police protection in Pakistan for her family.
"I need protection. I cannot go back without police protection. I want the Pakistani government and President Pervez Musharraf to assure me of protection when I return home following the renewed threat calls," she tells.
"They also claim that I am better suited to work in India and should not try to return home", Meera said expressing suspicion that the calls could be a fall out of professional jealousy.
But back home in Pakistan matter has only worsened for Meera.
Sayed Munawar Hasan, Secy of Jamaat-e-Islami, spearheading the movement against Meera in Karachi, says,"Yeh mudda kiss ka nahin hai... Everything is a political issue. Why is India trying to confuse the Kashmir issue? Why is Meera in Bollywood? Why is she not fighting like us for the Kashmiris' freedom and human rights?
"Doesn't she know and understand the tehzeeb of her culture? India and Pakistan are two different countries, two cultures. We have different definitions of shame, respect; different boundaries for our women. According to us, Meera should not be in Bollywood. The kiss is not the issue here. Kashmir, cricket or a kiss... there is a political angle to everything."