A Muslim As "Krishna"!
I cannot forget the words uttered by Khalil, a veteran among actors, at the Motion Picture Congress. Addressing Dad Phalke, he recalled how he, a Muslim, had been given the role of Krishna in dozens of films. In spite of the opposition from the orthodox element, Dada Phalke continued to cast a Muslim youth in the roles of Hindu gods. Art knows no barriers of caste or creed. And, looking through the pages of the history of the Indian film industry, you will come across numerous such instances. It was a Jewish producer who revived the glory of "Nur Jehan," a Hindu who dramatized the romance of the Taj Mahal in "Shiraz," a Muslim who produced "Chandra Rao More" and a Parsi who produced "Vaman Avatar". And even if some of these films were bad, I believe that they did bring the people of this vast country nearer in their understanding of one another's culture and traditions.
Not only Art but Commerce too, decrred that communalism should be kept out of the studios. Parsi and Hindu producers did not hesitate to employ Muslim artistes if they could exploit their star-value to make a few lakhs. Similarly, Muslim directors (such as there have been) and artists built their reputations with the help of their non-Muslim colleagues. There was never any question of putting communal labels on persons working in the studios. Yusuf Mulji was a good Cameraman, not a Muslim Cameraman; Syed Fatehlal was a good Art Director, not a Muslim Art Director; Nawab was a good actor, not a Muslim actor. At the same time no one worried if Chandulal Shah was a Jain; Sabita Devi a Christian; Leela Chitnis a Bene-Israelite; Ezra Mir a Jew. They all belonged to the same community - the community of artists. Their religious beliefs were a matter between them and their God.
Hindu Camera! Muslim Microphone! "
~ K Ahmad Abbas on rise of communalism in Indian Cinema for FilmIndia Magazine, February 1940.