The Central Board of Film Certification on Friday issued a U/A certificate to film-maker Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil , starring Pakistan actor Fawad Khan,
However, the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association (COEA) announced that its members would no longer screen films starring Pakistani artistes, including actors and music directors.
While Pahlaj Nihalani, the CBFC chief, criticised the move by the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association (COEA), taken at a meeting of its members on Friday afternoon, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar shot a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj demanding that India should no longer issue visas to Pakistani artistes till the strained bilateral relations over cross-border terror improve.
The dramatic developments began with Nitin Datar, COEA president and vice-president of Film Federation of India (FFI), the apex body of Indian film industry, announcing that its members had decided at a meeting not to screen any films starting Pakistani artistes starting with Karan Johar’s film. Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees is the other prominent film, starring Pakistani actor Mahira Khan and scheduled for a January release, is the other production likely to be affected by the decision.
Across four States Mr Datar said the association members from four states — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Goa, and Karnataka — had taken the decision based on “public sentiments” following the Uri and Pathankot attacks on Army based. “Indian films and satellite content were also banned in Pakistan. So, in view of this, we have decided that we will not release the movies featuring Pakistani artistes. We are informing our members about this, and also asking other industry associations to adopt this.”
COEA is the second industry association after Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA) to impose a ban on films starring Pakistani artistes after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, and Shiv Sena campaigned for an end of cultural relations with Pakistan.
However, several industry voices including Censor chief Pahlaj Nihalani criticised the decision. “We should fight terrorism on the border, and express solidarity with the Indian army, but COEA has sent a wrong message by trying to kill the hapless Indian film producer. The COEA is a Mumbai territory association with about 400 single screen theatre owners as members including me,” Mr Nihalani told The Hindu . He said he was speaking in his capacity as a producer.
Our correspondent adds from New Delhi:
Delay in security nod will not stall visas for Pakistanis
Amid the clamour to ban Pakistan artists in India, the Union Home Ministry clarified on Friday that as of now there was no thinking to revoke the visas given to them.
“There is no movement to revoke visas of Pakistani artists as of now. We don’t go for knee-jerk reactions,” a senior Home Ministry told The Hindu . >Read more.