Days before Karan Johar’s widely-anticipated film ‘Aye Dil Hai Mushkil’ is to release, a theatre owners’ body has decided not to screen films with Pakistani actors in Maharashtra and two other states.
“We have decided that we will not screen these films (with Pak actors). This is based on public sentiment over the past few months,” Nitin Datar of the Cinema Owners Association said after a meeting on Friday afternoon.
Mr Johar’s mega film starring Ranbir Kapur and Aishwarya Rai also features Pakistan’s Fawad Khan, who has a sizeable fan following in India.
The movie’s planned Diwali release is now in danger.
The “ban” on the screening of films starring Pakistani actors will be in place in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The decision comes amid tension between India and Pakistan over last month’s Uri terror attack in which 19 soldiers were killed. After that, India’s surgical strikes targeting terrorist launch pads or staging areas in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir ratcheted up tension between the neighbours.
Last month, a producers’ body in Mumbai passed a resolution banning Pakistanis from working in Indian films. In retaliation, Pakistani theatre owners decided to stop screening Indian films.
Parties like Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have threatened to block Mr Johar’s film if he does not drop Fawad Khan.
Last week, Mr Khan broke his silence on the controversy and said in a Facebook post: “As a father of two little children, I pray and wish like many others that together we can build and live in a more peaceful world. I believe we owe it to our children who will shape our tomorrow.”