Producers should pay Rs 5 crores to Army Welfare Fund for casting Pakistani actors: Raj Thackeray

Producers should pay Rs 5 crores to Army Welfare Fund for casting Pakistani actors: Raj Thackeray
Raj Thackeray. Picture Courtesy: Khaskhabar

Following a meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis earlier today, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) called off its protest against the release of Karan Johar’s upcoming directorial ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’.

In the wake of the Uri attacks, members of MNS’ Chitrapat Sena had criticized Johar for casting a Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in his film. The party workers also staged protests across the state and warned theaters against screening the film.

With less than a week left for the film’s release, the filmmaker along with Mukesh Bhatt met MNS chief Raj Thackeray at the CM’s residence earlier in the day to find an amicable solution.

Post the meet, Bhatt, who is the president of Film and Television Producers Guild, announced that the film will release as scheduled.

“Karan Johar will display a slate of tribute for Uri martyrs before Ae Dil Hai Mushkil starts playing out on the screens. We have assured the CM that the producers guild and any filmmaker will not work with any Pakistani artist in the future,” said Bhatt after the meeting.

Thackeray also confirmed the development while talking to reporters.

“We have always protested against Pakistani artistes but Bollywood never understood earlier. Now they have realised. Terrorist attacks have always been happening. I told Mukesh Bhatt. Pakistan bans our films and channels as per whims and fancies. So why are we rolling the red carpet for Pakistani actors, ” said Raj Thackeray after the meeting.

“CM asked me about the solution. Karan Johar will display a slate of tribute for Uri martyrs before Ae Dil Hai Mushkil starts playing out on the screens. Producers guild should give us a written undertaking that no Pakistani actors will be cast in our films,” he added.

Thackeray also said that every producer who cast Pakistani actors in their films should donate Rs 5 crores to Army Welfare Fund.

“Whichever producer has taken Pakistani artist will have to do penance by paying Rs 5 crores,” said Thackeray.

While Thackeray did not explicitly mention if his message was meant for any other producer, it is speculated that he was hinting at Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film ‘Raees’, which also stars Pakistani actress Mahira Khan in a lead role.

The film is produced by SRK’s wife Gauri Khan, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar under their banners Red Chillies Entertainment and Excel Entertainment respectively.

Nevertheless, the news comes as a major relief to Karan Johar and his team, who have been working towards ensuring their film’s release over the last few days instead of carrying out the customary promotions.

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