The Bollywood fraternity has been promised a “great Diwali” by Union home minister Rajnath Singh with a safe and secure release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
Mukesh Bhatt, President of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, recently met with Singh, who assured a safe release of the film on 28 October. The film’s embattled director Karan Johar did not attend the meeting.
Bhatt, along with singer-politician Babul Supriyo, met Singh to appeal for security amid vandalism threats from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which is against the movie’s release as it features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. “We are entertainers. We are interested in working with artistes, and not whether they belong to Pakistan, China or Africa,” Bhatt told the media after meeting Singh.
MNS had refused to change its stance despite Johar saying in a video message that he will not work with talent from Pakistan in the future.
Bhatt had earlier met a Mumbai police representative to appeal for police protection to ensure that the city’s theatres which will screen Ae Dil Hai Mushkil remain safe.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has become the first target of those who are against the inclusion of Pakistani artistes in Indian films after the 18 September Uri attack which killed 19 Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir. The attack was followed by surgical attacks that India conducted across the LoC.
The subsequent bilateral unrest between India and Pakistan had a spillover in the film industries on both sides of the border. While the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) issued an ultimatum to Pakistani artistes to quit India, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association passed a resolution asking producers to avoid working with talent from Pakistan.
Then, the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India announced that single screen theatres in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat will not screen Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. MNS has been open about condemning the release of the movie.