“When we sought a ban on the film, some people launched a propaganda that I was doing it because there were elections coming up and started spreading lies that I had brokered a deal. But, let me tell these people that Raj Thackeray is not for sale and our stand on the issue is clean and clear.
“When the movie was being filmed, I knew there were Pakistani artistes and they (the filmmakers) were warned that time. But, they did not listen,” he said on Tuesday.
“Our soldiers are fighting and getting martyred on the border and these people are rolling out a red carpet for Pakistani artistes.
“After our agitation, the producers clarified that they will not take any Pakistani actor in their films henceforth and that is what we wanted,” he said.
Exhorting party workers to get ready for the civic polls, Thackeray said: “Do not think of only getting poll tickets but think of how, as a representative, you will work for the people and the city.”
He lambasted those MNS workers who had switched their loyalties ahead of the elections.
The congregation saw the attendance of thousands of party workers.
Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil released on schedule after Bollywood producers agreed not to hire Pakistani artistes in future, giving in to Maharashtra’s mercurial politician Thackeray who had threatened to block the film.
The producers also agreed that under-production films featuring Pakistani actors will pay Rs 5 crore to an army welfare fund as “penance”.
The producers also agreed to include a tribute to Indian soldiers at the start of Johar’s film, which stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. But the so-called compromise triggered outrage on social media with many describing Thackeray’s monetary condition as “extortion”.
Peace was bought after a meeting involving Thackeray, Johar and the producers’ guild president Mukesh Bhatt at Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ residence.