No Pakistani films at Mumbai Film Festival after protest threats

COEAI had earlier decided to boycott Fawad Khan starrer `Ae Dil Hai Mushkil` considering the patriotic sentiments of the country. Photograph:( Facebook )

WION Mumbai, Maharashtra, India Oct 17, 2016, 12.01 PM (IST)

Amid a furore over ban on Pakistani artists and technicians from working in the Indian film industry, the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) on Monday decided to boycott Pakistani movies.

The organisers of the Mumbai Film Festival have decided not to exhibit any Pakistani film in this year's edition after a local social organisation threatened to protest against the event. 

The Pakistani film "Jago Hua Savera" which was to be screened at the 18th edition of the festival, being held from October 20-27, has also been banned. 

"Given the current situation, the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star has decided not to programme 'Jago Hua Savera' as part of the Restored Classics Section," organisers of the festival said in a statement.

The outfit, Sangharsh, had accused the organisers of playing with the nationalist sentiment of people of India, at a time when tensions are high along the border with Pakistan.

The group has also sought police permission to stage a protest against the screening of the 1958 Pakistani film at MAMI festival. 

The film that tells the tale of life in a small fishing village during the days of undivided Pakistan (now independent Pakistan and Bangladesh) was shot in Dhaka. 

Prithvi Mhaske of Sangharsh Foundation, who had filed the complaint against the organisers for the screening of the film said, "if Mami has decided to not screen the film, we welcome the decision, that they have understood the sentiments."

Some from the industry too welcomed the decision saying the priority right now should be the national sentiment.

Directed by AJ Kardar, "Jago Hua Savera" was also selected as the entry from Pakistan for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 32nd Academy Awards in 1960.

On Friday, the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) also decided to boycott Fawad Khan starrer `Ae Dil Hai Mushkil` and said their decision has been taken considering the patriotic sentiments of the country amid tensions between India and Pakistan.

A state political body, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), had earlier issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Pakistani actors to quit India and protested against the release of their movies. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)