Rejecting filmmaker Karan Johar's statement that he will not 'engage with talent' from Pakistan in future, the MNS on Wednesday protested outside a cinema hall here while asserting that it will not allow 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' to be screened in single theatres and multiplexes.
Four MNS film wing workers were later detained by police after they protested outside the Metro cinema hall in South Mumbai, asking the management not to hold any show of movie 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' which features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. "The MNS activists were raising slogans outside the Metro theatre for some time. The police asked them to carry it out peacefully but they were not in a mood to listen to us. We have detained four MNS workers so far," a police officer from Azad Maidan police station said.
Seeking to assuage tempers over opposition to the release of his directorial venture, Johar had yesterday made a fervent appeal against stalling the release, saying he will not engage with talent from Pakistan.
However, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) today said reality has dawned late on Johar. MNS cine wing head Amey Khopkar, after a meeting with senior party leaders and Raj Thackeray, told PTI that they were firm on opposing the release. "We will not allow the film to be screened in single screens and multiplexes. Reality has dawned late on the producer," Khopkar said.
The MNS protested outside Metro cinema he said, adding that such protests will be held at all cinema halls. The MNS and some other political parties have opposed release of films with actors from Pakistan after the Uri terror attack, putting a question mark on the fate of Johar's movie, slated for a pre-Diwali release on October 28.
The Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India too decided not to screen films with Pakistani actors in four states -- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa. Johar's film starring Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is facing trouble for Pakistani actor Fawad Khan's extended cameo.
A team from Johar's Dharma Productions along with filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt and Vijay Singh of Fox Star Studios had yesterday met Mumbai's top police officials and sought protection for the theatres to screen the film.
Assuring all help from their end, Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe had said, "Mumbai police will provide adequate protection to cinema theatres as and when required." Party's cine wing executive president Shalini Thackeray today said Karan Johar's video has come very late. "... and after seeing it, I find he is acting and not appealing from his heart. He should have listened to our
demands at the first time. We have intensified the agitation and now it cannot be withdrawn easily," she said.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Congress unit president Sanjay Nirupam pointed out the handling of law and order over the threats by MNS. "I am against Pakistani artistes in Indian films. But it is upto the government to take a decision on release of a film which has been shot with artistes from the neighbouring country...," he told PTI.
"Is there no police law in Mumbai or MNS calls the shots. Why is the government not intervening to ensure there is no law and order problem. (Chief Minister Devendra) Fadnavis should first maintain law and order and then take a call on the release of the film," Nirupam said.