On Sunday evening, a DNA report claimed that Mahira Khan has been dropped from Shah Rukh Khan’s next film, Raees. Quoting an unnamed source, the report said, “It was a very painful decision for producer Ritesh Sidhwani to take. The pressure to replace her had been building up for months. It reached a crescendo after the Uri attacks. It came to a point where it became impossible to shoot with any Pakistani artiste. People suggested all kinds of solutions to the impasse, including shooting in Dubai. But it didn’t seem viable. Now, Mahira has unfortunately been relieved of her duties.”
While there has been no confirmation from the producer or Shah Rukh Khan himself, the director Rahul Dholakia tweeted this early this morning.
“Cooker ki saat seeti Baj chuki hai, aag dena bandh kar” (not a line from Raees, I has better dialogues)
— rahul dholakia (@rahuldholakia) October 9, 2016
The tweet translates as ‘the whistle on the pressure cooker has blown, so take it off the fire’. It is speculated that the team has indeed dropped actress Mahira from the film and may be re-shooting her parts with another actress.
Raees is set in Gujarat in the 1980s. The film is produced by Gauri Khan, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar under their banners Red Chillies Entertainment and Excel Entertainment. It stars Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a supporting role. Sunny Leone has been roped in for a special song in the film. Raees is scheduled to be released on 26 January 2017.
The entertainment industry has been in the eye of the storm since tension escalated between India and Pakistan following the terrorist attack on Uri – more so since the surgical strikes by the Indian army on terror launchpads in PoK. Film actors and personalities have been called upon to take a stand on the issue and the patriotism of the artists has been gauged based on their opinions to the media. The Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) has banned Pakistani actors them from working in India until relations improve between the neighbouring countries. Political parties such as MNS had said that they would block the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees starring Pakistani actors Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, respectively.