Uncertainty plagues the release of upcoming big banner multi-starrer films as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena refused to budge from its stand opposing the inclusion of Pakistani actors in them.
MNS Vice-President Shalini Thackeray said on Thursday that it is no longer “a party issue, but a national sentiment and our stand is unchanged in view of the public angst”.
Her reaction followed a meeting with representatives of the powerful Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) who pleaded with her to permit the release of filmmaker Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees – both having Pakistani actors.
Seeking the MNS’s co-operation to release these films, the IMPPA delegation led by its President T. P. Agarwal said that the Pakistani actors, worked, took their money and left.
However, now it was the IMPPA’s duty to help the Indian filmmakers as huge investments are blocked and they could suffer heavy losses.
“The Indian producers have earned enough from the Indian audiences… Its time now that they respect national and public sentiments. Our stand on the matter remains the same,” Thackeray told IANS.
She said her party supported the IMPPA stand for a ban on all Pakistani actors and artistes working in the country, announced last week.
The IMPPA issued a statement that read: “IMPPA at its Seventy Seventh Annual General Meeting on September 29, 2016 unanimously resolved to appeal to all IMPPA members to henceforth in future not to work with any artistes, singers and technicians from Pakistan until the situation of hostilities between Pakistan and India subsides and the government of India declares that all is well with Pakistan and India.”
Thackeray said she had agreed to take a joint delegation of the IMPPA and MNS to the government seeking a ban on giving Indian working visas to Pakistani artistes.
However, she reiterated the MNS stand that Pakistani actors must not be hired for Indian films as the people are now against watching such films, and hailed the recent Zee TV decision to yank off all its television serials starring Pakistanis.
At least three major films, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Raees and Dear Zindagi are slated for release over the next few weeks, but the MNS objection has created a huge hurdle in terms of pre-release promotional, booking cinema halls and related issues.