Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which staged high-voltage protests against the release of Karan Johar's movie "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, today withdrew its agitation after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis mediated talks between the MNS chief and the filmmakers.
The move to officially call off the protests came after Johar, Producers' Guild President Mukesh Bhatt and Thackeray met the Chief Minister at his residence 'Varsha' in Mumbai this morning.
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. The Producers' Guild has agreed to the demand, Bhatt said after the meeting.
Speaking to reporters, Thackeray said, "I am told that all the three demands of MNS have been accepted by the producers. Before the beginning of the movie, a tribute should be offered at every screening to the jawans who were martyred in various terror strikes including recent Uri and Pathankot attacks.
"The producers should also put a blanket ban on Pakistani artistes, singers and technicians henceforth. Every producer, who has so far casted Pakistani actors, should give Rs 5 crore to the Army welfare fund as an atonement. The producers should handover the cheque to the Defence Minister and make the photo public."
Earlier too, Johar had assured that a portion of the earning from ADHM would go for the welfare of the family members of the jawans killed in the Uri attack.
Thackeray also sought to know why our film industry is entertaining Pakistani artistes in an atmosphere of conflict. "The Pakistan government flatly bans broadcasting of Indian news and entertainment channels without any valid reasons. In such a situation, I do not find (a reason) why we should entertain their artistes here," Thackeray said.
MNS had been vociferously demanding a ban on Pakistani actors and artistes in the Indian film industry after the Uri terror attack, which claimed the lives of 19 soldiers. It vehemently opposed the release of the upcoming movie as Pakistani actor Fawad Khan features in it in a cameo. The party's continued protests here led to the arrest of 12 of its activists. It also found support from several quarters of the society including some nationalist groups.
Though MNS' agitation was restricted to screening of the movie in Mumbai and other major cities in the state, the party's stand could have incurred huge losses to makers in the country's entertainment capital, with a huge network of multiplexes, prompting them to approach Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Fadnavis, seeking smooth release for the movie, slated to hit theateres on October 28.