The terrorist attack in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir in September 2016, has affected a lot of dimensions in both India and Pakistan. And now, Bollywood suffers too as an Indian nationalist party protest the release of the Hindi movie ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ as it stars a Pakistani actor, Fawad Khan.
After 18 Indian army men lost their lives in the terrorist attack at Uri, in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, on September 18, and India alleged Pakistani militants for the loss, the cross-border tension ceases to die down.
After a series of counter attacks by both the nations in various different forms, it is now Bollywood’s turn to be covered in the flames of Indo-Pak tensions.
Recently, a Maharashtrian nationalist party in India – Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) – protested against the release of the Bollywood movie ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, directed by the famous Indian director Karan Johar, as it stars a Pakistani actor, Fawad Khan. MNS also threatened to destroy multiplex theatres if the movie is screened, which is scheduled to release on October 28 this year.
“We will oppose the screening of the movie everywhere in the state Maharashtra. If any multiplex operator dares to screen the film, they (operators) should remember that multiplexes are decorated with expensive glass sheets,” MNS leader Amey Khopkar said.
A section of cinema owners in four Indian states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and parts of Karnataka, said that they will not release the movie because along with Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, it features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan who appeared in earlier Hindi movies like ‘Kapoor and Sons’ and ‘Khoobsurat’ (2014).
However, soon after MNS issued the threats, producers of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ along with other Bollywood producers like Mukesh Bhatt and Siddharth Roy Kapur, met Mumbai Police Commissioner DD Padsalgikar and joint commissioner of police (law and order) Deven Bharti on October 18 and demanded security for cinema houses screening the film.
Stressing on the fact that the movie was shot much before tension between India and Pakistan escalated and that any attempt to boycott or blacklist it will affect the large team of people that worked on the movie, Karan Johar said, “I beseech you to know one thing, that over 300 Indian people in my crew have put their blood, sweat and tears in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.”
Representatives of the ruling political party in India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said that Mr Johar’s film used a Pakistani actor who was officially allowed to work in India by the government and the film must be allowed to release. However, they have suggested that it is up to the viewers to decide if they want to boycott the film.
Breaking his silence on the matter, Karan Johar, through a video message, said that he puts his country before self and saluted the Indian army for their valour. The director also condemned terrorism and declared that going forward he wouldn’t work with Pakistani talents given the current circumstances prevailing in India. Along with this, he also requested fellow Indians to not undermine the work of scores of other Indians who toiled hard to help complete the film.