Karan Johar’s ambitious film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, in all likelihood, will not be able to keep its date with cinema screens this Diwali. The Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) has decided that no films starring any Pakistani actors will be released in theatres.
Nitin Datar, head of the Cine Owners Association said, “Till the relations between India and Pakistan becomes normal, no films with Pakistani actors can be released.” This decision has already been put in place in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and parts of Karnataka. Datar added that the Cine Owners Association will convey their decision to other states as well.
This decision comes in the wake of major backlash from several Indians against Pakistani artists working in India and those employing them.
Speaking to India Today, Datar said that if single-screen theatres are set on fire during a screening of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, the responsibility of keeping people safe from danger will fall on the theatre owners. Therefore, keeping all possibilities in mind, the Cine Owners Association has decided to bar the screening of the Karan Johar film in theatres.
“Taking national sentiments and security issues into account, we cannot allow the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,” Datar said.
On the same note, when asked about the losses that theatre owners would incur if Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is banned from screening, MNS leader Ameya Khopkar said, “Nation comes first. We don’t care about losses faced by producers. There will be trouble in theatres if Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is released. Yes, we are threatening.”
Meanwhile, Ashoke Pandit, the vice-president of the Indian Motion Pictures’ Producers Association (IMPPA), has said that he is going to approach the Cine Owners Association to withdraw their decision to halt the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
Earlier the IMPPA had placed an indefinite ban on Pakistani artists from working in Indian films till the tensions between the two countries normalised. However, the IMPPA had also mentioned that films that had already been made with Pakistani artists, such as Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees would not be stopped from release.