Not Allowing Release Of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Will Be A Self-Inflicted Defeat For Bollywood

The Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) has decided to not screen Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, because it stars Fawad Khan. Why isn’t the industry up in arms?

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Not Allowing Release Of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Will Be A Self-Inflicted Defeat For Bollywood

There was a time not too long ago when the industry took pride in standing away from petty politics. So when Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan made feeble comments on intolerance in India, political parties quickly caught on to the ‘mudda’ and decided to make quick publicity and perhaps, moolah from it. Rumours were rife that a brand that is endorsed by Shah Rukh Khan spent crores to pay off local small time parties which threatened to disrupt Dilwale’s release in certain areas.

Cut to today, when a similar threat is staring us in the face (albeit a bigger one) and when the industry is even more in need of support, a major association is bowing under pressure. And it is such a shame.

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Image Source: youtube/FoxStarIndia

Ashoke Pandit, in an interview with a TV channel, mentions the reason behind the ban. Apparently the association fears that the theatres will be vandalised if they showcase the movie. So in an effort to secure itself against perceived losses, it has decided to ban the movie from three states – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa – and parts of Karnataka. And even more bizarre is their decision to request other associations connected to the film industry to support the ‘sentiments in the best interest of the nation.’

Take a moment to let that sink in.

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Image Source: youtube/FoxStarIndia

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil stars Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as the main leads. The only Pakistani actor, Fawad Khan, has a special appearance, probably pivotal to the total plot, but he hardly features in the movie. Still, a fraternity of the industry seems hell bent in halting the release of the film. The point behind it remains to be understood. Even if we put the IMPPA (Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association) temporary ban on Pakistani actors and technicians working in India in perspective, Ashoke Pandit, the  VP of the association specifically mentions that the movies featuring them are free to be released if they have already finished production.

This ban on the film not only rings in losses for the makers, even after taking into account the sale of satellite and digital rights, but the cinema owners as well. Plus the actors and technicians invested in the movie are nowhere included in the general debates and chatter.

Ranbir Kapoor’s career is in doldrums. While every movie poses a new opportunity for him to bounce back, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was his best bet considering Jagga Jasoos release dates keep getting pushed while the other movies are yet to go on floors.

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Image Source: youtube/FoxStarIndia

But even if we ignore the overall problem. what if tomorrow another stony faced, sombre sounding, political leader with a violent history in politics decided to be offended by something else? And this has hardly anything to do with being patriotic. Fawad Khan was cast in the film through the right channels and in sync with the nation’s sentiments then. He was supposed to be India’s hottest import! And if the industry is supposed to support the government’s efforts to increase cultural ties with Pakistan in good times, isn’t this the time for the government to return the gesture?

Even then, COEAI’s move to cow down to such intimidation is downright shameful. Shah Rukh Khan should be worried.

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Image Source: twitter/@karanjohar

Thumbnail Image Source: youtube/FoxStarIndia