Farhan Akhtar criticised Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ role as a mediator in talks between MNS chief Raj Thackeray and film maker Karan Johar.
Johar was under fire recently for casting actor Fawad Khan in his upcoming film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. After a series of protests by MNS and the decision to ban the film on all single screen theatres by the film exhibitors’ association, Johar succumbed to pressure.
After a series of meetings with the MNS, Johar agreed not to cast Pakistani artistes in future and also to pay Rs 5 crore as ‘penance’ to the Army welfare fund.
Akhtar feels that this ‘deal’ has set a ‘terrible precedent’. “It’s not even the government telling you what you should be doing and not doing. So who are you listening to? You are listening to the people who are threatening you with violence. Now, when you have the threat of violence, it’s not only about you. You have kids at home, you have a family. Why do you want to subject them to that? At the end of the day, it’s really unfortunate that this is the state of affairs,” he said.
Akhtar also commented that holding only the film industry responsible is like ‘window dressing’ “By all means pass a law. If you pass a law, you are representing the voice of the people. We’ve elected you to do it, so by all means pass a law. But don’t hold that standard only for the film industry. Why only the film industry? Because we are easy targets. Why don’t you stop business between India and Pakistan, this two billion dollars of business that happens every single year. Stop it, go the whole hog. This is like window dressing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Devendra Fadnavis has defended his actions by claiming that he did not ‘broker a deal’ but merely held talks between the parties to find a solution. “If talks can be held with Hurriyat and Naxals, what is wrong in talking with the MNS,” he said.
Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment is the producer of Raees, in which Pakistani Actress Mahira Khan plays the female lead. The actor and his co-producer Ritesh Sidhwani have remained steadfast in their commitment towards Mahira, and have repeatedly ignored demands to drop her from the project.