Relief for Karan Johar as MNS withdraws ban on ‘Ae Dil...’
Filmmaker Karan Johar received a major breather as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Saturday allowed the release of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” but with a rider –all the producers who employed Pakistani artists, must pay Rs 5 crore each into the Indian Army’s welfare fund as an atonement. Distributors and cinema owners have also come forward in support of the film.
The MNS decision followed Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ direct intervention in the matter –a day after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Mumbai and two days after he met representatives of Bollywood.
Fadnavis convened a meeting on Saturday which was attended by MNS President Raj Thackeray, Karan Johar and Film and Television Producers Guild of India’s President Mukesh Bhatt, among others at his official residence, Varsha, to resolve the imbroglio.
“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” has been in news for featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.
Thackeray said henceforth, all Pakistani artistes, including actors, singers and directors shall be permanently banned from Bollywood.
“Why should Pakistani actors be given the red carpet welcome when our soldiers are being killed on the borders? Was the Uri attack the first one,” Thackeray said.
The MNS also imposed certain conditions on the release of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, including that the producers making a handsome contribution to the army welfare fund, and slides paying tribute to the brave Indian soldiers are shown before the start of the film in theatres -- to which both Bhatt and Johar readily agreed.
The film also stars Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma.
“We have always raised our voice against Pakistani actors, cricketers coming and working here… This is our victory,” Thackeray asserted, virtually pulling the rug from under his rival, cousin Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena.
Interestingly, the Shiv Sena has been agitating against Pakistani artistes, writers, and cricketers since several decades and is currently a coalition partner with Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra and in the NDA at the Centre.