Shiv Sena on Monday took a sharp dig at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over his role in facilitating the release of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, saying he gave up an opportunity to show that there is a “56-inch chest” government. In a stinging editorial in its mouthpiece “Saamana”, the ruling alliance partner said the developments pertaining to the release of the film, which was threatened to be blocked by Raj Thackeray-led MNS, were “horrible, ruthless and have rubbed salt into the wounds of martyred soldiers.”
Fadnavis has come under a grim attack from the opposition Congress and NCP for “brokering” a truce between the film’s producers and the MNS, alleging that by doing so he has shirked his prime responsibility of maintaining law and order.
“A lot has happened behind the curtains and all opposition to the film was diluted in the cup of tea at ‘Varsha’ (chief minister’s official residence). We do not want to get into who lost and who won but the whole episode has insulted our martyred soldiers,” the Saamana editorial said.
“(BJP) Central leaders are threatening Pakistan and boasting about surgical strikes. But none of them has the courage to say that films having Pakistani artistes will not be allowed to be released. Pakistan has violated ceasefire about 25 times after the surgical strikes and nobody is bothered about it. Here, everyone is rallying behind film producers seeing them in trouble,” it said.
Fadnavis had the opportunity to show that there wasn a “56-inch chest” government in place now, that has a much stronger spine than the previous Congress-led government, which was “pro-Pakistan”, it added.
“Masks of many came off after the tea session at ‘Varsha’. Karan Johar was asked to pay Rs 5 crore to the Army welfare fund in lieu of release of his film. Is the sacrifice of our soldiers worth this much? The developments of the entire episode is horrible, ruthless and have rubbed salt into the wounds of martyred soldiers,” the Sena said.
Justifying his intervention in defusing the stand-off over the film, Fadnavis had said the issue could be resolved because the producers guild and MNS were on the same lines, expressing solidarity with the Indian Army.
On October 22, under pressure from political and other outfits, Bollywood film producers announced that they will not engage with Pakistani artistes, clearing decks for the release of Karan Johar’s film as MNS withdrew its threat to stall the screening.