In what could spell trouble for Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar, Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena — the film wing of the Raj Thackeray-led MNS — on Friday made it clear that they not just want Pakistani actors to leave India but will also stall the release of Raees and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in Maharashtra. Both the films have Pakistani actors in pivotal roles — while Mahira Khan is SRK’s leading lady in Raees, Fawad Khan plays an important role in Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
Talking to indianexpress.com, Shalini Thackeray, general secretary of MNS Chitrapat Karamchari Sena, said, “It is not a veiled threat. It’s a direct threat to producers like SRK and Karan Johar who take Pakistani actors in their movies. You can’t find Indian actors for your films? In this 125 crore Indian population, can’t you find a single Indian actor to cast in your films that you import people from a place like Pakistan, a country with which we all are facing a problem. It’s not a veiled threat but a direct threat. We will not allow the release of these movies here.”
When asked if in the eventuality of Karan Johar and SRK agreeing to MNS terms, would the party allow the films to be released since shooting for both films with Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan are almost over, Shalini said, “That’s for them to decide what they should be doing with their films that has Pakistani actors. We will not allow films with Pakistani’s actors to be released here in Maharashtra. We are sending letters to all producers and would request them to cooperate with us, which we hope they will in Maharashtra. If they don’t, we will stop the shoot wherever Pakistani actors are involved. ”
Meanwhile, Amey Khopkar, President of Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena, said, ” We are not doing this to gain political mileage. This is a very critical issue. We will not allow any Pakistani actors to work in Mumbai. And why do we need Pakistani actors. We have talent in India. We have good actors in India. Why do we need Pakistani artists in India. The party in power should have taken this stand. We have always shook hands with Pakistan and in return what have they done? Our brave jawans are losing their lives because of attacks orchestrated by Pakistan. How can we sit and watch the performance of Pakistani actors in our country? Our people should also understand. Look at what happened when director Kabir Khan went to Pakistan. If they keep attacking us, why should we watch them and their shows? We will also take a stand against the shows that promote these Pakistani actors here.”