The chairperson of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) says no one has a right to stop a film from being shown after it has been given a certification. CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani said it was wrong to target any kind of cinema for its Pakistani presence. “We’ve given censor certificates to both Ek Tera Saath and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Both are equally eligible for release. No action, political or otherwise, has any right to stop their release,” he told IANS over the phone.
Nihalani said Fawad Khan was not the only Pakistan artist to perform in a film. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan has rendered two songs in Ek Tera Saath. “Ek Tera Saath releases this week. Why isn’t there even a murmur of protest against these songs? Only because it is a small film? Is Ae Dil Hai Mushkil a soft target because it is made by Karan Johar? Why are only high-profile films being made soft targets?” he asked.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had threatened to attack theatres if they screened Johar’s film in which Fawad Khan was one of the actors. On the intervention of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, MNS chief Raj Thackeray agreed to allow the film to go ahead on the assurance that no other Pakistani artists would be given work in future.
There was also talk of Johar donating Rs 5 crore to the army welfare fund. Several commentators have called this extortion by the MNS, with approval from the chief minister. Nihalani, a controversial figure himself for taking a stand against kissing scenes in films, also had a word of advice for filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on his criticism of the Prime Minister.
“Kashyap wants the Prime Minister to apologise for his visit to Pakistan. I suggest Mr Kashyap concentrate on making films instead of commenting on the Prime Minister’s policies. Modiji knows what he is doing. But after seeing ‘Bombay Velvet’, India wants to know if Mr Kashyap knows what he is doing,” he said.
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