WIONMumbai, Maharashtra, IndiaOct 18, 2016, 11.46 AM
The ban on Pakistani actors has become a thorny issue for the Indian film industry. Filmmaker Karan Johar on Tuesday said he was hurt on being labelled "anti-national" ahead of the release of his controversial film "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" starring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.
After facing threats by political parties in Maharashtra of vandalising theatres over the screening of the film, Karan said he would not engage with talent from Pakistan "in the circumstance".
In a video statement, the director said: "Remained silent because of deep sense of hurt that I felt, that there are a few people who actually believe that I am being anti-national. I need to say this and I say this with strength that for me this country comes first," Karan said.
"Nothing else matters to me but my country. I have always felt that the best way to express your patriotism is to spread love and that is all I have done through my work."
Karan, who spearheads the Dharma Productions, said he respects the Indian Army for their unending commitment and everything they do to protect the nation. However, he also appealed that the efforts of his 300-member Indian crew must be considered before hindering the release of the movie.
Earlier in the day, the producers of the film - Fox Star Studios and Dharma Productions - met the Mumbai police commissioner to seek police protection after the political outfit Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) threatened to physically hurt Karan Johar.
Police commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar and joint police commissioner (law and order) Deven Bharti assured the team full protection ahead of the release. Ashok Dudhe, the DCP of Mumbai Police, has come out in support of ADHM and said, "We, Mumbai Police, will provide adequate protection to cinema theatres as and when required.To maintain law and order, we will provide protection to every cinema theatre in the city."
Filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt, who is the president of The Film and Television Producers Guild of India, further said: "Why are we Indians fighting one another? We are one, we are Indians, let us not get fragmented and let the terrorists feel that they have won by separating us. I know they are upset, we are also upset but we are helpless as the movie has already been made."
After much speculation over the release or a complete ban on the movie, the filmmakers have decided to stick to the initial schedule. The movie will hit cinemas worldwide on October 28.
Earlier, the political party had given an ultimatum to Pakistani artists to leave the country, in response to the terror attack on the Indian Army in Uri, Kashmir last month.