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India against obstructing Fawad film; Maharashtra assures 'protection'

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NEW DELHI: Even as PEMRA's ban on Indian content looms, the Indian Government has made it clear that it will not create any impediment for the release of producer-director Karan Johar’s 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ starring popular Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, among others.

It is just a matter of a few hours when the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra’s) order issued on 19 October banning all Indian content on Pakistan media will come into force.

PEMRA's order is directed at all FM radio licence holders, landing right holders, and satellite television channels operating in Pakistan. The authority has threatened defaulters with punitive legal action.

But, India's home minister Rajnath Singh has assured smooth release of Fawad Khan-starring movie in India while talking to film producer Mukesh Bhatt who is also the president of the Film and TV Producers Guild of India.

After the meeting with the minister in Delhi, Bhatt said, "Rajnathji said he will speak to the chief minister of every state, and assured that 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' will release without any violence or issue."

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a breakaway faction of the regional saffron brigade, had earlier said they would not allow release of any film featuring Pakistani artistes.

The Indian Guild had subsequently passed a resolution asking the Government to ensure that films that were either ready for release or were under production and featured Pakistani artistes should be allowed.

Bhatt and Apoorva Mehta from Johar's Dharma Productions had met the minister in Delhi to discuss the smooth release of the upcoming film. To a question about a ban of Indian films in Pakistan, Bhatt told newspersons that it did not make any difference to India since most Indian films shown in Pakistan were pirated.

Johar had earlier appealed against stalling the release, saying he would not engage with talent from Pakistan in future.

MNS continued their protests as the party rejected Johar's statement that he will not "engage with talent" from Pakistan in future.

The Maharashtra government has, however, assured protection to cinemas where the film will be screened from Diwali weekend.

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