The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena on Saturday said it will not oppose the release of Karan Johar's upcoming movie Ae Dil Hai Mukshkil. The decision was announced after MNS chief Raj Thackeray's meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Producers who have cast Pakistani artists in films will give Rs 5 crore to the Army relief fund, Thackeray said after the meeting, adding that they must also give in writing that they will no longer feature actors from Pakistan in their films.
Film producer Mukhesh Bhatt and Johar were also present at the meeting at the chief minister's house. "I assured Fadnavis that the Producers' Guild will not work with Pakistani artists in the future," Bhatt told reporters after the meeting. He also said that Johar will run a clip to honour Indian soldiers before the movie.
However, President of the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India Nitin Datar said they will not cooperate with the MNS' stance and will not support the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Datar had announced on October 14 that the association had asked its members to not screen movies featuring Pakistani, singers or musicians. The move came weeks after the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association banned Pakistani actors and technicians from working on projects in India.
On Thursday, Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh had assured a delegation of Bollywood representatives that Ae Dil Hai Mushkil will be released without any glitches on October 28. "Rajnathji said he will speak to the chief minister of every state, and that Ae Dil Hai Mushkil will release without any violence or issue. He assured us 100% support," Bhatt had said.
Johar had released a video statement, vowing to not "engage with talent from the neighbouring country", given the current sentiments in India towards Pakistan. The filmmaker, however, had urged moviegoers to take into account the "blood, sweat and tears" more than 300 Indians had put into making the movie.
The Fawad Khan starring movie has been embroiled in a controversy since the MNS gave Pakistani actors in India a 48-hour deadline to leave the country. The move followed the militant attack on the Army's camp in Kashmir's Uri sector, in which 19 soldiers were killed.