The Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) have today announced they will not release films starring Pakistani actors in 4 states – Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and parts of Karnataka. Of course, this directly affects Karan Johar‘s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, as the film is set to release in two weeks and stars Fawad Khan. This decision was apparently taken keeping in mind “patriotic feelings and national interest,” and so COEAI has asked their exhibitors to not screen movies that involve Pakistani talent.
Some points to note here:
- The ban is likely to be upheld only in single-screen theatres across the 4 states mentioned above
- The COEAI has over 400 members
- DNA reported that this is not a legally-binding ban, as only the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) or the court of law can legally ban a film
- The COEAI has apparently not made a decision on Raees yet, because they are waiting to see if “the situation normalises” later
Meanwhile, the Film & Television Producers Guild of India, which represents most of the active Hindi film producers, has released an official statement. In it, they say that they are extending “unflinching support” to the government, but urge them – and the states – to appreciate that a ban could result in losses for producers.
The film producers who have already shot their films or are in the process of completing their unfinished films should not end up paying heavy price for no fault of theirs due to engaging the services of talent from across the border as these artistes were employed through proper legal channels prior to the recent escalation of hostilities.”
The Guild is therefore asking for the government to ensure the smooth release of films like Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. They have further asked the government to guide the industry on the way forward with regards to hiring Pakistani talent.
Dharma, on its part, has released an official statement saying it is going ahead with the release of the film on October 28th as planned, as it has been cleared by the censor board. So, if anything, the film will only not be screened in the single-screen theatres that come under the COEAI. Otherwise, the film is releasing as scheduled.
We’ll update you as more information becomes available.