Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Thursday reiterated it will not allow the screening of film-maker Karan Johar’s upcoming film, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, despite a warning from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The MNS has stuck to its stand that Johar has to replace Khan if he wants to screen the movie.
After union home minister Rajnath Singh promised a smooth release for the film on October 28, Fadnavis told HT, “Protesting against anything in an undemocratic way will not be tolerated. We will not allow them to disturb the law-and-order situation. Strict action will be taken against miscreants. I have not spoken to Rajnath Singhji, but Karan Johar had called me up.”
However, MNS leader Shalini Thackeray, wife of Jeetendra Thackeray, a cousin of Raj, said the issue has now gone beyond party lines. “What will the police do if the citizens decide to enter the theatres and take law into their own hands. We have been getting messages from educated people, saying they will protest against the screening,”she said.
According to sources, Raj Thackeray has asked the party’s top leadership to be firm. He has told them to disrupt film shooting and beat up any producer or director who dares to cast Pakistani artistes.
“Though we have not got any communication from the union home ministry as yet, we will follow all the instructions from the union government meticulously. All the police heads at district and commissionerate levels are prepared to maintain law and order, said KP Bakshi, additional chief secretary, home department.
Shalini said police action would hardly matter as the staff in some multiplexes are supporting MNS and have decided to go on strike during the screening.
The state government has already initiated action against MNS workers who attempted to stage protests at Metro theatre on Wednesday and similar action will be taken against party workers if they tried to disrupt the release of the film next Friday, sources in the home department said.