Karan Johar’s Ranbir Kapoor-Anushka Sharma starrer Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has been cleared for release on its scheduled date, 28th October - but not without conditions. The film landed in trouble after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) called for a ban on all Pakistani actors following the Uri attacks in September. The film will now carry a tribute message for fallen Indian soldiers.
But while Ae Dil is the first to be targeted, there are several upcoming Bollywood movies that could face similar problems, the most prominent being Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees, currently scheduled for a January 27th release.
““Shah Rukh’s film is introducing Pakistani actor Mahira Khan. After the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) asked all Pakistani actors to return to their country in the wake of the Uri attacks, the makers are now worried this development can severely affect the business of the film,” says the insider.
TP Aggarwal, President of IMPPA says, “We have passed a resolution that people who have already made the film won’t be affected by this. If the producers have completed, we will not have any problem with them but if the work is not done and they are in the position to change the actors, then they should do that.”
Besides Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which stars actor Fawad Khan, filmmaker Gauri Shinde’s upcoming Dear Zindagi, with Ali Zafar in supporting role and Rahul Dholakia’s Raees with Mahira could be affected because of the public sentiment.
There were rumours that actor Ajay Devgn’s upcoming film Shivaay has a Pakistani artist, but his team was quick to clarify. “There are media reports doing the rounds that Pakistani actress Saba Qamar is making her debut with Shivaay. we would like to clarify that actress Saba Qamar or any other Pakistani actor/ actress is not a part of Shivaay,” the film’s publicist said.
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, whose film Calender Girls had a plot in which a Pakistani actor leaves India after protests , says it is important to respect IMPPA’s decision.
“IMPPA comprises of people who are very senior and it is a very old organisation. It is important to respect the decision because right now the situation is very hostile and it is basically a lot of emotional things are going in the Indian masses. We always believe art has no boundary but lot of Pakistani actors who are known should condemn every kind of terrorism. When actors condemn Paris and Istanbul attacks, why can’t they condemn attacks in India. Terrorism has no religion. Someone who is a fan of Pakistani singers can die in such attacks. Right now it is important to understand the emotion that is there in the masses,” says Bhandarkar.
“IMPPA has said the films which are complete they will not touch. These films have almost finished shooting and cannot change anything. Raees and Dear Zindagi are 95% complete, so I don’t think they will be affected. Besides these, all these artists are not the main star attraction in the film,” says filmmaker Komal Nahata.
Dear Zindagi is made with a budget of Rs 15 crore, Ae dil Mushkil with 55 crores and Raees has Rs 50 crore riding on his. Film distributor Sanjay Ghai says the loss for Bollywood could be visible after the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
“This loss will start with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. People don’t know what IMPPA is but there is a feeling of protest in the audience. Even if footfalls are not affected, there are chances of people entering the theatre and causing damage to the property. While the release might not bear the brunt, the success of the film will be affected,” says Ghai.