As MNS continues its onslaught on Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, its director Karan Johar has finally commented on the issue. Through a video message, Johar talked about his love for his country, and also said that he will not ‘engage’ with Pakistani talent now on.
Johar says he chose silence “because of the deep sense of hurt and deep sense of pain that a few people could actually believe that I am being anti-national”.
“I need to say this with strength that for me, my country comes first and nothing else matters to me…,” he says, explaining that relations between India and Pakistan were vastly different when his was in production from September to December last year. “There were efforts made by our government for peaceful relationships with the neighbouring country and I respected those endeavours and efforts then. Going forward I would like to say that, of course, I wouldn’t engage with the talent from the neighbouring country given the circumstance,” Johar adds.
However, he claimed that “over 300 Indian people in my crew have put their blood, sweat and tears in my film, and I don’t think it is fair for them to face any kind of turbulence on account of other fellow Indians.”
Read: Leave The Creative Industry Alone, Karan Johar Tells Political Parties
Johar insists that he is not anti-national. The film was shot at the end of 2015 when relations between the two countries were amicable. He stated: “When I shot my film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in September to December last year the climate was completely different. The circumstances were completely different. There were efforts made by our government for peaceful relationship with our neighbouring country.”
The statement comes after MNS issued a veiled threat to multiplexes that might screen Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The controversy arose from the fact that Pakistani actor Fawad Khan is a part of the film. At a time when Indo-Pak relations are at an all-time low after the Uri attack last month, several film related bodies had asked for a blanket ban on Pakistani actors and technicians
Also Read: IMPPA Bans Pakistani Artists From Working In Film Industry
Johar’s statement did little to dissuade MNS from its original plan. When asked if there is any change in MNS’s stance considering that Karan has now declared his intention of not collaborating with Pakistani talent, Amey Khopkar, President of Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena, the film wing of the Raj Thackeray-led MNS told Indian Express, “Has he realised it only now? He didn’t understand it for such a long time?”
Shalini Thackeray, the general secretary of Chitrapat Karmachari Sena, also questioned Karan Johar’s sudden change of heart towards Pakistani actors. “This is the same Karan Johar who once said Pakistani actors should not be banned. Why this sudden change in heart? It’s come a little too late in the day for him,” she said.
For the moment, MNS has no plans of withdrawing its agitation against the film. “We are firm on our stand and we will not allow him to release the film,” said Khopkar.
Meanwhile, Twitter too did not take too kindly to Johar’s sudden change in stance.
Karan Johar realized Country Comes First after 30 days of Uri, 20 days of Surgical Strike and 10 days before release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) October 18, 2016
Why should we be ashamed if @karanjohar doesn’t stand up to bullies?Govt/Police haven’t banned film, MHA hasnt changed Pak visa policy… https://t.co/J8g17xQEH6
— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) October 18, 2016
Some were annoyed that Anurag Kashyap’s defense of Johar on Twitter recently, went to waste.
@anuragkashyap72 stood for him but @karanjohar cldnt for his own film despite doing no wrong….sad!! https://t.co/olCSZ8HTRr
— SaumyaP (@spandey2004) October 19, 2016
@BDUTT If @karanjohar had to be ‘bullied’ to be a patriot, it doesn’t speak much of him, does it? https://t.co/HXTavtmLYt
— sathya narayanan (@sathya0709) October 19, 2016
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, starring Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai, Fawad Khan, will release on 28 October.