Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil on Saturday was set for a scheduled Diwali release after he and other film producers promised Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis they they will not work with Pakistani artistes in future.
Mukesh Bhatt, President of Film & Television Producers Guild of India announced this after members met Fadnavis in the presence of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, whose followers had threatened to forcefully prevent the release of the film.
"We’re Indians first and for us, Indian sentiments are more important than our business. The guild has taken a decision, in the larger interest of the entire country that we’ll not work with any Pakistani artistes in the future. It’s a resolution," Bhatt said.
Later at a press conference MNS chief Thackeray hinted his supporters will not stop the release of the film, saying film producers who employed Pakistani artistes will have to pay Rs 5 crore each to the Indian Army's welfare fund as "penance"
"Why should Pakistani actors be given the red carpet welcome when our soldiers are being killed on the borders? Was the Uri attack the first one," an aggressive Thackeray demanded.
He also said that henceforth, all Pakistani artistes -- actors, singers, among others -- shall be permanently banned from Bollywood.
The film had run into trouble when Thackerey-led MNS threatened the makers that they won’t allow the release of this film in India as it featured Pakistani artistes.
Bhatt said they had "constructive and interesting" discussions in which they were assured that the film will release on October 28.
“We owe the nation a happy Diwali and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil will be released, without any issues, any problem, any fear whatsoever,” he said.
"Karan Johar said he will run a special slate honouring the martyrs before the start of the movie, even before the name of his father. It's a tribute from us to our soldiers," Bhatt added clarifying that this is not a compulsion, but a voluntarily gesture.
The makers of the film starring Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma in lead roles, will also contribute a portion of its revenue to the army welfare fund, he said, adding "we owe this to the Army".
Earlier this week, Karan Johar had released a video statement declaring "for me, my country comes first. Nothing else matters but my country."