‘ADHM’ to release as producers agree to not cast Pak actors
Mumbai : Under pressure from political and other outfits, Bollywood film producers today announced that they will not engage with Pakistani artistes, clearing decks for the smooth release of Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” as MNS withdrew its threat to stall the screening.
Johar accompanied by Producers’ Guild President Mukesh Bhatt met Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis at his home ‘Varsha’ here this morning where Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, whose party has been opposing the release, was also present.
MNS had threatened to disrupt the screening of the film as it features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.
Johar has agreed to put a special mention in the beginning of the film paying homage to martyrs, a move to assuage sentiments in the country triggered by the terror attack on an army base in Uri that claimed the lives of 19 security personnel.
Producers Sidharth Roy Kapur, Sajid Nadiadwala and Vijay Singh of Fox Star Studios were also present in the meeting.
Bhatt told reporters that the meeting was “positive and constructive and ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ will release as per the schedule.”
“We discussed the unfortunate events related to the film’s release. I shared the film industry’s emotions regarding the entire issue. We are Indians first and then comes our business,” he said.
Bhatt said they have assured the CM that neither the Producers’ Guild nor any filmmaker will work with any Pakistani artiste or technician in the future.
Also, the Guild will call a meeting to pass a resolution on not working with Pakistani artistes. A copy of the same would be sent to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry as well as the Chief Minister, he said.
“Karan Johar will display a slate of tribute for Uri martyrs before ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ starts playing out in the screens. It is a tribute from us to our soldiers,” Bhatt said.
The makers of the film, slated to release on October 28, starring Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma in lead roles, will also contribute a portion of its revenue to the army welfare fund as demanded by MNS.
Thackeray said MNS laid down three conditions that filmmakers who worked with Pakistani actors have to comply with. These include a contribution of Rs 5 crore to the Army welfare fund.
The Producers’ Guild has agreed to the demand, Bhatt said.
Workers from MNS’ film unit Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena had been protesting and raised slogans outside Metro Cinema in South Mumbai this week, threatening to vandalise cinema houses and stalling the film’s screening.
“After these protests, the law and order situation seemed to be not in control and hence we approached the Home Minister and Maharashtra Chief Minister,” Bhatt said.
“We requested him to give us assurance along with the CM
of the state that law and order will be intact and our movie ‘ADHM’ which is releasing on October 28 would not face any difficulty,” he said.
Earlier this week, seeking to calm tempers over opposition to the release of his directorial venture, Johar had made a fervent appeal against stalling the release, saying he will not engage with talent from Pakistan in future.
However, MNS chose to dismiss it and said that reality had dawned late on Johar and continued with their agitation leading to the arrest of 12 party activists, who have been sent in judicial custody till November 4.
Before today’s meeting Johar had called on Fadnavis on Thursday afer which the CM had said, “the state government would like to reaffirm that the government will not allow anyone to disturb law and order and stern action will be taken. Democratic protest is fine but unlawful activity will not be tolerated.”