Initially slated to release on October 28, Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” starring Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Anushka Sharma has fallen into controversy for starring Pakistani Actor Fawad Khan in the movie.
Tensing relations between India and Pakistan following the Uri attacks that martyred 19 soldiers, triggered a chain reaction of animosity as Pakistani artistes were asked to leave the country.
The Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) which has over 400 members, on Friday announced that movies featuring Pakistani actors won’t be screened in single screen theatres in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat, plunging into doubt the release of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, any time soon in western India.
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COEAI President Nitin Datar after a meeting of members: “We have nothing against Karan Johar. It’s just that we won’t allow the release of any film which will have Pakistani actors or technicians in it.”
“We have collectively taken this decision that we won’t showcase such films in our single screens. As of now, we will be following this decision in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat,” Datar added.
Datar added: “We can’t say we are banning these films. It’s just that we are suspending all these films.
“In future, if our (India’s) relationship with Pakistan gets better, we will work towards it. But looking at the current scenario, we have to take this decision.”
Reacting to the decision, veteran actor Om Puri, who has worked in Pakistani films, told a TV news channel: “First, I’m the citizen of this country. Whatever my government will say, I will agree.”
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri said the “public outrage” over recent incidents between India and Pakistan had led to the decision.
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“If only Pakistani actors had given even a small statement condemning the act of killing people, I don’t think people would have been so outraged,” said Agnihotri.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had earlier warned Pakistani actors to quit India and said it would not let movies — including “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” and “Raees” — to release.
Following that, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association had passed a resolution to disallow Pakistani artistes from working in Indian films.
In response, Pakistani exhibitors had reportedly decided not to screen Indian films in their cinemas.