THE CENTRE is said to have assured the makers of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil that no one would be allowed to stall its Diwali weekend release in the wake of threats by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) against the Karan Johar-directed movie for featuring a Pakistani actor.
The assurance was given by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday to a delegation led by Film and Television Producers Guild of India president Mukesh Bhatt who sought security to ensure the movie’s release in theatres across the country without incidents of violence.
In a separate meeting in Mumbai, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured Johar that stern action would be taken against those who disturb law and order to stall the movie’s release. Two days ago, Johar had issued a video message in which he said that “going forward”, he would “not engage with talent from the neighbouring country given the circumstance”.
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Bhatt and Apoorva Mehta of Dharma Productions, which is behind the movie, met Singh at North Block this afternoon. Speaking to reporters later, Bhatt said that they met the Home Minister as there was a sense of “fear” that the law-and-order situation, particularly in Mumbai, was going out of control.
Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who met Singh along with Bhatt, said, “MNS is a party of goons. They should not be allowed to take law and order in their hands.”
Bhatt said he was confident that the movie would have a “safe release” after assurances from the Home Minister.
“We requested him to give us an assurance along with the Chief Minister of the state (Maharashtra) that law and order will be intact and our movie, which is releasing on October 28, should not face any difficulty,” Bhatt said.
“He (Singh) assured us that whatever support we want, he will provide to us. He said that he will talk to the chief ministers of states so that law and order remains in place and violence does not take place near theatres. Full security will be given to all exhibitors,” he said.
Bhatt said that he wanted everyone to get entertained during Diwali and celebrate the festival with happiness. “After the Home Minister’s assurance, I have gained confidence that I’m safe. So, no matter how much MNS tries, I know the government is with me. Families, too, should not fear any more. Theatre exhibitors need not worry as well. The government has assured 100 per cent support to us,” said Bhatt.
Asked what he thought of Pakistan’s decision to ban Indian TV and radio content, Bhatt said, “How does it matter to us? We know how to entertain. Politics is something we don’t know. For 25 years, films have not released in Pakistan. How does it matter? Our movie is a global release and we are happy with that.”
During Fadnavis’s meeting with Johar, the Chief Minister said that “democratic protests are fine but unlawful activity would not be tolerated anywhere in the state”.
Amid heightened tension with Pakistan, following the terror attack in Uri and the Indian Army’s announcement of surgical strikes targeting terrorist launch pads across the LoC, the Raj Thackeray-led MNS issued an ultimatum to Pakistani actors to leave India and sought a ban on them.
On Wednesday, 12 MNS activists were arrested for protesting and raising slogans outside Metro Cinema in south Mumbai against the movie’s release.