Workers of India’s right wing Hindu radical party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Wednesday staged protest against screening of a Bollywood film featuring a Pakistani artiste, in Mumbai city of western Maharashtra state.
‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ is scheduled to open in Indian cinemas on October 28, two days before Diwali, the country’s festival of lights. The film has run into troubled waters for featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan at a time when tensions between India and Pakistan are running high.
The party workers assembled at a multiplex and raised slogans against Bollywood director Karan Johar and demanded his film should not be released.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Arvind Gavade said they will resort to violence if the multiplexes do not oblige to their demand.
“We will not allow release of this here. Right now, we are asking all the multiplex owners politely to not screen this film here but if anybody still goes ahead with the screening, we will break the glasses of their theatres,” said Gavade.
On Tuesday (October 18), film’s director Karan Johar said he would not work with Pakistani actors again.
Amey Khopkar, president of Chitrapat Karamchari Sena – The Film Workers’ Association of the regional party – said they were firm on not allowing the screening of film.
“We really don’t care about Karan Johar has to say in his video. We are firm on our decision and we will not allow any kind of film to be released which has Pakistani artiste,” said Khopkar.
Earlier, the right wing outfit had set a 48-hour deadline for the Pakistani artistes to leave the country as ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours nosedived following a militant attack in Kashmir last month that killed 19 soldiers, the deadliest toll in nearly two decades.
India blames Pakistan for the deadly assault with Prime Minister Narendra Modi branding Pakistan a “mother-ship of terrorism” at a summit of the BRICS nations on Sunday.
Last week, the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India decided not to screen films featuring Pakistani crew because of “public sentiment”. The directive applied to single-screen cinemas in four revenue-generating states for Bollywood movies – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa.