December 14, 2016 12:00:45 am
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Tuesday said that any film certified by the Censor Board will be released without any hurdles. The government is committed to protect the rights and freedom of individuals, Fadnavis said. There is no question of buckling under anybody’s pressure ever, he added. Fadnavis told The Indian Express, “Any film which is certified by the Censor Board will be allowed a hassle-free release. My government will not allow anyone to disrupt the law and order in Maharashtra.”
The chief minister’s reaction comes in the wake of political parties raking controversy over the meeting between Bollywoord actor Shahrukh Khan and MNS chief Raj Thackeray in Mumbai on Sunday. Dismissing the Raj-Khan meeting as a matter between two individuals, Fadnavis made it clear that when it comes to governance, nobody can dictate terms.
After meeting Khan at his residence, Thackeray told reporters that the actor met him to scotch rumours surrounding his soon-to-be released film ‘Raees’. There were reports that Pakistani actor Mahira Khan would be in India to promote her upcoming film with SRK. “He (Shah Rukh Khan) had come to inform that rumours about Mahira Khan promoting Raees are false,” Thackeray said.
The film will hit theaters next month. The MNS had previously threatened members of the film fraternity against working with Pakistani artistes. They also demanded film theaters to stop the screening of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil as Pakistani actor Fawad Khan was in one of the lead roles. Fadnavis had earlier brokered peace between the makers of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and MNS. The MNS agreed to allow the screening of the film after the producers promised to donate Rs 5 crore as “penance” to the Army welfare fund.
Notwithstanding the criticism from political rivals and some quarters, Fadnavis emphasised that government stand on allowing film release was always constant and unwavering even in the past. Referring to the past controversy over Aye Dil Hain Mushkil, Fadnavis said, “The government had emphatically stated that film would be released as per schedule. I had reassured one and all about giving full police protection. There was no compromise on law and order. Nor any financial deal.” While dismissing the critics who are trying to distort facts and create controversy, chief minister said, “Anybody fomenting problems to create unrest would be dealt firmly.”
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan described the Khan–Raj meeting as a government failure. Chavan said, “It shows the failure of the government lead by Fadnavis.” If the film producers have to seek permission from MNS which is not a constitutional body for release of film, it shows government failure and it is shameful, he added. “How can a government allow MNS to take Rs 5 crore ‘hafta’ from film producers. It amounts to extortion,” he said.
However, sources in the MNS said, “Thackeray (Raj) has already revealed what transpired at the meeting. It was confined to just Shaharukh Khan trying to place facts and scotch false rumours about Pakistani actor promoting the film.”
The MNS general secretary Shalini Thackeray told The Indian Express, “The Indian Film Producers Association has already given its consent against featuring Pakistani actors in Indian films. The Film Producers Guild has also promised to convene a general body meeting to pass a resolution to ban Pakistan actors in Indian films. Mukesh Bhatt who is associated with the film guild had given the assurance in the last meeting.”
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