Ever since the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) announced their decision of requesting exhibitors to suspend the release of all films featuring Pakistani artistes, chaos has reigned supreme with many reports suggesting the decision has effectively banned Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. To get a clarity on what the decision means and what its implications could be, we spoke to film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi.
1. Every exhibitor in India doesn’t come under the umbrella of COEAI
The COEAI is not the association of all exhibitors in the country. It’s an association of single screen cinema owners from Nashik, Pune and some parts of Bombay.
2. COEAI can’t ban or disallow a film from playing
Only two institutions can disallow a film from playing at cinemas – CBFC and the court of law. No organisation, association or political outfit can threaten or advice to ban a film from cinemas that too after the film has been cleared by the CBFC. Such a ban is illegal.
3. Multiplexes have not called for a ban on ADHM
Delhi exhibitors have supported the film and multiplex associations have not called for an embargo or ban against ADHM. To say no exhibitor in India will play the movie is wrong.
4. COEAI has only requested their members to play the film
The association has only requested its members not to play the film. A lot of them will play and a lot of them will not. It is their individual call. COEAI has made the request to show solidarity and to protect members from any form of threat. It is a respected call.
5. Risky playing ADHM
Every exhibitor has to decide on playing the film knowing the potential risk that comes with it because there are threats from political parties. So whether an exhibitor wants to screen his film or not is his personal call.