The Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) on Friday announced that movies featuring Pakistani actors won’t be screened in single screen theatres in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat.
The decision comes ahead of the scheduled release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. While it was slated to hit the screens on October 28, the COEAI decision has cast doubts if it will see the light of the day any time soon in western India.
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COEAI President Nitin Datar told IANS : “We have nothing against Karan Johar. It’s just that we won’t allow the release of any film which will have Pakistani actors or technicians in it.”
The COEAI has over 400 members. “We have collectively taken this decision that we won’t showcase such films in our single screens. As of now, we will be following this decision in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat,” Datar added.
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The decision comes amid India-Pakistan tensions. “We can’t say we are banning these films. It’s just that we are suspending all these films,” said Datar.
“In future, if our (India’s) relationship with Pakistan gets better, we will work towards it. But looking at the current scenario, we have to take this decision,” he added.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had earlier warned Pakistani actors to quit India and said it would not let movies — including Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees — to release.
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Following that, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association had passed a resolution to disallow Pakistani artistes from working in Indian films.
In response, Pakistani exhibitors had reportedly decided not to screen Indian films in their cinemas.
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