The slugfest over the release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil might cease when he will make a “penance” of Rs 5 crore in the Army welfare fund. When Johar puts in the huge amount as donation, he would be putting in more than four times the money in the fund currently.
The Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties was started as a centralised fund, to accept donations and contributions from organisations and individuals, and to be managed by the adjutant general branch of the Army. As per government sources, from mid-August when the fund was started, till last week, the Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties had received donations worth around Rs 1.4 crore.
Started on the initiative of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, the fund was installed because many individuals had approached him with the desire to aid families of martyrs.
As per the Defence Ministry, the contribution made to the fund must be voluntary in nature and should be used exclusively for “Next of Kins of Battle Casualties”. The ministry is now considering a proposal to make contributions to the fund eligible for tax exemption.
Meanwhile, the Army is not comfortable in being dragged into the politics surrounding Johar’s latest flick. Several serving and retired officers Hindustan Times spoke to said the army was an “apolitical and secular” organisation and attempts should not be made to exploit its name for scoring political brownie points.
Johar accompanied by Producers’ Guild President Mukesh Bhatt met Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis at his home ‘Varsha’ on Saturday where Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, whose party has been opposing the release, was also present. At the meeting, Johar agreed to put a special mention in the beginning of the film paying homage to martyrs, a move to assuage sentiments in the country triggered by the terror attack on an army base in Uri that claimed the lives of 19 security personnel.
Thackeray said MNS laid down three conditions that filmmakers who worked with Pakistani actors have to comply with. These include a contribution of Rs 5 crore to the Army welfare fund.