We approached Saba Qamar without thinking about her Pakistani nationality, says Hindi Medium director
Should it matter to filmmakers which side of the border an actor resides?
Hindi Medium director Saket Chaudhary has said in an interview with Scroll.in that it didn't matter to him that Saba Qamar was Pakistani when he cast her in the film.
"We approached her without thinking about nationality," says Chaudhary .
"It’s only towards the final days of the shoot in 2016 that Pakistani actors were being asked to leave the country. Since ours was a small film, it didn’t affect us. We had shot her portions by then. Some time passed and the noise about banning Pakistani actors died down. So by the time of the release, she wasn’t a prime target."
However, a different kind of controversy has engulfed Hindi Medium. Bengali filmmakers Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee have alleged that Chaudhary has plagiarised their Bengali hit Ramdhanu, which explored similar themes.
Chaudhary, however, insists that the idea for Hindi Medium came during his research for Shaadi Ke Side Effects.
"My film is based on original material that my co-writer Zeenat Lakhani and I developed. It was during the research of my previous film Shaadi Ke Side Effects that we stumbled upon an article about a man whose daughter was rejected by a school because he had an arts degree. So he enrolled in an MBA programme to get her through. That struck a chord and triggered the idea."
Saba Qamar makes her Bollywood debut with Hindi Medium, which comes out this Friday.