Ae Dil hai Mushkil release is in limbo as the Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) has decided not to release movies starring actors from Pakistan in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa.
Featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, the film may still manage a successful release if director Karan Johar replaces Fawad’s face with the face of some another actor.
DNA had reported on October 10 that Karan is considering replacing Fawad’s face with Saif Ali Khan and also change the country of origin of two leading ladies of the film.
Reportedly, the characters played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma in the movie are Pakistani residents.
However, all of this would not happen before Bollywood learns some lessons in nationalism, which swept the country after Uri attack, in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed by Pakistani terrorists.
The demand to ban Pakistani artistes from working in India started soon after the attack. Some sections of the society, including Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, were not happy with Pakistani actors not condemning the attack.
As the demand to ban actors from across the border became stronger in following days, Bollywood appeared divided over the issue. While some openly favoured the ban, others like Karan Johar and Salman Khan opposed the proposed move.
Those in favour of the ban said Pakistani actors should openly condemn terror attacks on Indian soil as they do when something similar happens across the world.
However, those against the ban claimed that actors have nothing to do with terrorism. That there should be no borders to divide art.
With the ban announced by Cinema owner’s association today, it is now clear that Bollywood’s “double standards” on matters concerning national sentiments of a vast population of the country would not be tolerated.
It is time for the entertainment industry not just to make films on patriotism, singing paeans to the Tricolour, but also literally dance to the tunes of nationalism.