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Ae Dil Release Mushkil: Karan Johar gets a taste of nationalism
Karan Johar's 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' (ADHM) is set to release on 28th October 2016 just before Diwali. But it is facing ban and nationwide outrage for just one bone of contention, namely Fawad Khan, who stars in the film with more than a cameo role.

Subsequent to Uri attack, the entire nation was outraged against Pakistan. The mothership of all terror activities across the world, as PM Modi told during BRICS summit at Goa, the people of India condemned Pakistan and for that matter anything that has a Pakistani tag such as artistes, singers, Kabaddi players etc. India does not play any bilateral cricket with Pakistan since 26/11 Mumbai attack. After Uri, the ban got extended to another important part of all Indians' lives, i.e. Bollywood.

Quite a few Pakistani artistes earn their living by working in Bollywood. When the outrage reached the peak, these artistes had to leave India. Raj Thackeray, the MNS chief, was crystal clear in his threatening that no Pak artistes would be allowed to work in Bollywood and films starring Pak artistes would be stalled from screening.

ADHM has Pakistani artiste Fawad Khan in its cast and this is precisely why it is facing obstacles in the way of its normal release. Already in four states it has been banned on single screens. MNS threat of vandalism prevents its release in multiplexes as well.

Karan Johar made one mistake. I am not telling casting Fawad Khan was a mistake. His mistake was he could not gauge the mood of Indians in general. He led the Pro Pak campaign vigorously giving little or no respect to the soldiers shedding blood at the border.

'Separate art from politics', Karan Johar shouted at the top of his voice only to fall on deaf ears. Mahesh Bhatt, Om Puri, Salman Khan, Anurag Kashyap and lately Priyanka Chopra and Taslima Nasreen, all supported Karan Johar. But these people will hardly watch the film. The people who matter gave a thumbs down to Johar.

Nationalism is not politics, Mr. Johar, it is above politics. Nation loving Indians always understand the value and sacrifice of the soldiers and want to show solidarity with them. Boycotting Pakistani artistes is not a call taken by the government, it is a unanimous decision of the people of India. Johar should have understood this.

With MNS threat looming large, Johar made another attempt by giving an emotional video message that he would not involve any Pakistani artistes in future and therefore ADHM should be allowed to be released normally. He further mentioned that earning of around 300 persons associated with this film was at a stake and they all would face financial loss if the film did not get released normally.

But it was bit late and with a lot of question marks. If someone understands patriotism when faced with financial loss, it is not patriotism, it is rather opportunism. Moreover, the 300 odd people must have been paid their dues. Hence whatever loss the film would incur, it will only affect the pocket of Johar.

Indians give a damn to such individual's pocket and therefore it is far more likely that the film will meet with flak with sparse audience watching it.

Johar then tried to contact Raj Thackrey, but in vain. Then he sought the help of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asking for protection from MNS when the film gets released in multiplexes.

So, Johar is doing everything he can to get the film released. With a week to go, I don't think he would be successful in persuading Indian cinema-goers to watch the film.

There is just one thing in the defense of Karan Johar despite his public spectacle of Pakistan love. The film was shot before the Uri attack when the relationship between India and Pakistan was not that sour. There was no ban on Pak artistes and therefore Fawad Khan's inclusion in the film was totally justified. Subsequently, if the relationship between India and Pakistan goes bad, why should a film producer be punished? To me it makes sense.

According to my opinion, Johar should have said this right from the beginning, rather than justifying Pak artistes and 'art is above politics' type of statements, with a vow that he would not involve Pak artistes again. Then, I am sure, there would not have been much opposition to the release of the film.

Fawad Khan, for whom Johar was batting, made matters worse for him by saying that Bollywood was not the parental property of anyone and OUR PEOPLE made it. He also refused to condemn the Uri attack and gave a 'Pakistan First' message. Indian citizens are wondering what OUR PEOPLE means and decided to boycott the movie having an India hater who says 'Pakistan first'.

Instead of pacifying people, Johar should have gone for re-making the film for only those parts involving Fawad Khan. It would cost him some money, but then the film would earn much more than that.

Patriotism or nationalism is a subject which moneyed people never understand. For those who consider money as religion, nationalism is like a foreign film without subtitles. Now, I think Johar has got a taste of what nationalism is all about. Whether he understands time will tell. At present his film could be renamed as 'Ae Dil Release Mushkil'.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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