On October 22, film-maker Karan Johar would have breathed a huge sigh of relief. After the month-long uncertainty surrounding the release of his film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil – which stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, along with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma – the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) finally gave a green signal to the film’s Diwali release. This happened after MNS chief Raj Thackeray met with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and film’s producers.
Now, as the debate on nationalism has gripped the minds of the cinema-going public, it’s not unsurprising that Johar’s regular fans have varied opinions on whether or not they want to watch the movie at all. His video plea, in which he requests that he be allowed to release his film, also received a mixed response.
While many welcomed his reasoning and his decision to not work with Pakistani artists any more, there were others who were indignant that he wouldn’t stand up for ‘art without borders’. Amid the barrage of comments opinions that were flying around on social media platforms, there is one tweet that has made quite a stir.
Johar was apparently sent a cheque of Rs 320 by an Akola, Maharashtra-based businessman Karan K Cheema, who said that since he has no interest in watching Ae Dil Hai Mushkil because of its star cast, as a fellow businessman he feels sad about the losses that Johar might have to incur. A picture of a letter and a cheque drawn out to Dharma Productions was tweeted out, garnering a lot of reactions. “Here is @karanjohar’s namesake sending him ticket money but refusing to see movie. Fair as he only appealed abt loss of money & not abt art”, the tweet reads.
— shilpi tewari (@shilpitewari) October 20, 2016
The letter accompanying the cheque reads: “I would like to express my grief for you, seeing your video over social media regarding your losses because of casting Pakistani artistes in your forthcoming film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’. The situation pervading in our country is so perplexed at this stage… Anyway none of us are interested in watching your movie ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ anymore… As a businessman I still feel sad for your losses so I am enclosing a cheque…of HDFC Bank amounting Rs. 320.00 (assuming 160 per ticket x 2 persons) which is generally charged by movie theatres in our city for your kind perusal.”
IndianExpress.com could not independently verify the letter as phone calls to Cheema Sports on the numbers given on the letter went unanswered, the tweet by itself has generated quite a buzz among Twitterati.
One user tweeted, “This is fair enough All people should send cheque but shouldn’t watch movie”, while another “I’ll donate the movie ticket + popcorn money x family members to the army welfare fund”.
Well, irrespective of the authenticity of this letter, much like Udta Punjab, Johar’s film actually self-promoted itself because of the ongoing controversy, as opposed to the producer needing to spend much on promoting the film himself.