Pakistani actress Mahira Khan is reportedly considering a role in the upcoming Malayalam film L2: Empuraan, according to Indian media.
This would mark her debut in the Malayalam film industry.
The rumours of Mahira's involvement in the film have gained traction due to her close friendship with director Prithviraj Sukumaran and his wife, Supriya Menon.
The three have been spotted vacationing together in the Maldives, further fuelling the speculation.
Mahira has previously expressed her admiration for Malayalam cinema, citing its storytelling, acting, and production values. She has encouraged her fans to explore the industry.
If the rumours are true, Mahira's debut in Malayalam cinema will be in L2: Empuraan, a film that serves as both a prequel and sequel to the successful Lucifer.
L2: Empuraan boasts an ensemble cast, including Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Indrajith Sukumaran, Tovino Thomas, Sai Kumar, Baiju Santhosh, and Shivaji Guruvayoor.
The film is expected to generate significant buzz if Mahira joins the project.
For a recap, the Indian high court dismissed a petition that called for a blanket ban on Pakistani artists working in India.
The judges, Justice Sunil B Shukre and Justice Firdosh P Pooniwalla, went further and provided valuable insights into the significance of cross-border cultural cooperation.
They emphasized that activities such as arts, music, sports, culture, and dance transcend national boundaries, cultures, and nations. Instead, they foster peace, unity, and harmony within and between nations.
The judges firmly rejected the petitioner's plea, calling it a "retrograde step in promoting cultural harmony, unity, and peace" and noting that it had no merit.
The petitioner's request had sought directives from several Indian ministries including the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of External Affairs, and Ministry of Home Affairs.
These directives aimed to prohibit the employment of Pakistani actors, technicians, singers, musicians, and lyricists in India.
Over the past decade, the strained political relations between India and Pakistan have unfortunately taken a toll on various forms of cultural expression, particularly in the realms of arts, culture, and sports.
In the early 2010s, the Indian audience was enamoured by Pakistani television serials such as Humsafar (2011) and Zindagi Gulzar Hai (2012), leading Indian television channels like Zindagi to showcase syndicated shows from Pakistan.
This cultural exchange even allowed Pakistani stars like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan to venture into Bollywood projects.
In the realm of music, the immense popularity of Pakistani artists like Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan transcended nationality.
However, a turning point occurred in September 2016 following the Uri attack, leading to resolutions from prominent Indian industry bodies like the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association and the Federation of Western India Cine Employees.
These resolutions collectively decided to ban Pakistani artists from engaging in the Indian film industry and put an end to the era of cross-border exchanges in arts and entertainment.