Mumbai: Filmmakers who have signed Pakistani actors will have to pay Rs. 5 crore as 'penance' for army welfare, Raj Thackeray said today, suggesting he will not block the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, after producers promised not to use Pakistani actors in the future.
- Producers meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis, Raj Thackeray of MNS
- MNS, other groups had threatened violence, demanded ban on film
- Producers say won't use Pak actors in future, will honour Uri martyrs
Ae Dil... director Karan Johar, producers' guild president Mukesh Bhatt met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Mr Thackeray, whose Maharashtra Navnirman Sena or MNS is among outfits that had threatened to vandalise cinemas and block the film as it stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.
"We had a constructive meeting. Shared emotions of industry. For us, India comes first. I have assured Chief Minister that...we'll not work with Pakistani actors," Mr Bhatt said.
Claiming victory, Mr Thackeray said, "All the producers who have Pakistani artistes in their film will as penance have to pay some money. I suggested Rs. 5 crore per film... and give the money to the army welfare fund."
The condition will also apply to upcoming Shah Rukh Khan starrers Raees and Dear Zindagi.
Retired army personnel were however not pleased with the development and said that the sacrifices of the armed forces shouldn't be politicised.
Former chief of army's northern command, Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (Retd) said, "We as part of the Army don't live on charity. It's unfortunate that army's sacrifice is being politicised. You can't start doling out money in the form of charity. I would like to ask these people, the producers, if they have ever kept aside money during the Kargil war.
Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd) said that if the issue is as small as release of a film, the government's order should prevail. "Drawing the armed forces into this and forcing someone to donate to army's welfare fund as yardstick for releasing a film is absolutely incorrect," he said.
Sections of Bollywood have said that given the attacks in India by Pakistani terrorists that have killed soldiers, Pakistani artistes should be banned from working in the film industry.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Mr Bhatt said today that Karan Johar has offered to honour Indian soldiers killed by Pakistani terrorists in a message that will be screened before the film.
On Thursday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had reportedly assured producers that the film will release without any violence and all cinemas will have "100 per cent police protection".
Earlier this week, Mr Johar released a video statement saying that his movie was shot much before tensions between India and Pakistan escalated following the Uri terror attack that left 19 Indian soldiers dead last month.
A section of cinema owners in four states had also said they will not release Mr Johar's movie because it starred Fawad Khan.
Refusing to budge, they said today that they will not release the film.