"I'd like to commend Pakistani actors," he said.
"I'd like to commend Pakistani actors," he said.

Stars across the border can learn a lesson from Mikaal Zulfiqar when it comes to warmongering.

The actor recently appeared on BBC Asian Network to speak with Haroon Rashid about his recent film Sherdil and Bollywood's response to the Pulwama attack.

In the interview, Mikaal shared his view that "an actor needs to be neutral, he needs to be a peacemaker if anything," while expressing his disappointment at Bolly celebs' reactions.

Priyanka Chopra, who is also a UNICEF ambassador, Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, among many more tweeted in support of the Indian army during the critical time and were called out for standing in favour of war. However, a number of local celebs reacted with restraint and asked for peace.

"I'd like to commend Pakistani actors here that despite facing propaganda, despite facing bans, despite being misused to some extent in India they have always extended a hand of friendship and tried to bridge the gap."

Speaking of an old video of Akshay Kumar's that resurfaced during the time, Mikaal added, "I'd like to actually credit Akshay Kumar here whom I've worked with, who's a brilliant actor, who actually really cooled down the situation. I don't know if it (his video) was related to this incident but it was relevant and what he had to say was what I would have hoped to have heard from the Indian side."

His film Sherdil also did well at the box office because it released around the time of the Pulwama attack... and he admits the filmmakers used it to their advantage.

"It kind of worked in our favour obviously because sentiment for the air force was high. The air force defended the nation very proudly so there was immense pride; people wanted to see jets in the air."

However, he clarifies that the clash occured purely "coincidentally". "This is something we did over a year ago."

"Even to the extent that the absolute last scene was also filmed a year ago. A lot of people came up and said, 'Oh you must've just done that'... but we kind of milked the situation quite a lot."

Spoiler: The last scene of Sherdil sees Mikaal shoot down his enemy in air combat and just when he is assumed dead, he's actually found to be hanging off a tree in Pakistan - a scene which harks to the real-life situation of Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhi Nandan.

"I don't think I've ever worked harder on a project. It was a challenging role and I did use my decade plus of experience and put everything into it. So yes, I had very high expectations for the film. and I knew there was a lot in the film that hadn't been shown in Pakistan like the visual effects and the visual of the film," said Mikaal.

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