The Great Indian laughter challenge, as the name indicates, is one of a kind, currently in its second series.
This time there was a motley crowd of participants including those from Pakistan. Talent on both sides of the border is unmistakable. To top it our sensibilities match. No surprise there considering there is little or no difference in language, habits, culture and ethnicity.
Any wonder then that yesteday the winner was announced and it was a Pakistani! One had expected it, not just from the fairness angle but also in keeping with the latest affirmations of cordiality between the two countries.. The Bus service to Ravalakote across the border was flagged off a couple of days earlier by Sonia Gandhi, amidst fanfare and hype.
Yet... Javed Akhtar the renowned poet, lyricist, writer, was denied a visa by the Pakistan Consulate!! He is Miffed- and rightly so. Because of the hue and cry raised by the media and others, he has been granted one on second thoughts.
MUMBAI: Javed Akhtar, who was granted a visa to visit Pakistan following the uproar provoked by the initial rejection, has asserted that he will tour the country only if its highest authority issues an apology. Akhtar was to lead a 50-member Indian delegation of prominent actors to attend the Karachi premiere of K Asif's magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam on Saturday.
The point I am trying to make is as follows: Will somebody please spell out just exactly where do we stand as neighbours? Are we presntly blowing hot, cold, lukewarm? Conflicting signals lead to unrest and dis-ease. Terrorism is as active as ever in POK, random acts of aggression are being reported sporadically all along the border. So while we honour the Pakistani artists who come to our country, singers, musicians, rock stars and the latest entrant in the laughter challenge( please note that the game show was Great INDIAN Laughter challenge- with a pakistani winner) yet Javed is denied visa!