Shiv Sena’s campaign against Fawad Afzal Khan and Mahira Khan !
Shiv Sena’s campaign against Pakistani artistes took another turn on Wednesday with representatives of the party claiming that they would not allow actors Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan to promote their films in Maharashtra.
Fawad has two high-profile Dharma Productions projects on the cards (Kapoor & Sons and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil) while Mahira stars in Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming, Raees.
The general secretary of the Chitrapat Sena, Akshay Bardapurkar, was quoted as saying, “We have taken a stand not to allow any Pakistani actor, cricketer or performer to step on Maharashtrian soil… Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar, Shah Rukh Khan, etc. are responsible citizens and they should not cast Pakistanis in their film.”
The “boycott” of Fawad and Mahira, however, has been met with incredulity from the film industry.
Mahesh Bhatt, who has worked with several Pakistani artistes says, “If Fawad Khan is in the country, it is because the people of India have loved him. If Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam are big draws in the country, it is because they are a hit with the citizens in the country, which is why they are a part of the popular mainstream culture today. I have dared to bring talent from across the border because we as an industry only look inwards.
“Political parties should clearly take a stand against extremists, but shunning talent from the industry is no way of going about it. We as actors and businessmen, have invested in talent and eventually it affects us. “…When I made the film Saathi (which released in 1991), Pakistani cricketer-turned-actor Mohsin Khan was a part of the movie, but he was asked to leave because of his nationality. Haven’t we moved an inch since then? Are we stuck in history? I think we as an industry must search for answers.”
Filmmaker Shyam Benegal says, “We have diplomatic relations with the country and we are not at war with them. We are a cultured nation and we can’t be reducing ourselves to play the game of tit for tat. They are not doing it in a rational sense, is it a mere political advantage (that they are vying for)?”
Karan Anshuman, film critic and director of Bangistan (which was banned in Pakistan) says, “I disagree with the Shiv Sena. What sort of picture are they trying to portray? On one hand, we have the film fraternity culminating the message of peace with films like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and on the other hand we have parties like these who will go down to any extent to stay relevant. ”
In 1995, several cuts were made to Bombay at Bal Thackeray’s request, mainly about his depiction in the film by Tinnu Anand.
Balasaheb vociferously demanded that Dilip Kumar return the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Pakistan’s highest civilian award) that had been conferred on him.
In 1998, the Sena vandalised theatres playing Deepa Mehta’s Fire, prevented it from being screened.
In 2004, Sena vandalised theatres protesting against the screening of the Amrita Arora-Isha starrer Girlfriend.
In 2010, the Shiv Sena threatened that they would not allow Shah Rukh Khan’s My Name Is Khan to be released in the state after SRK made a statement favouring the inclusion of cricketers from Pakistan in the Indian Premier League
In July this year, the Sena prevented the release of the Pakistani film Bin Roye, starring Mahira Khan, in Maharastra.