KARACHI: While the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) threatened all Pakistani actors to leave India within 48 hours, when none were present in the neighboring country, the Indian media has now taken up the case of Neeraj Pandey’s M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story. Several Indian publications have reported that Dhoni’s biopic has been “banned” and “boycotted” by Pakistan in retaliation to threats given by MNS to Pakistani artists.
Meanwhile in Pakistan, the censor boards have not even received the film for certification. “How can we ban a film that’s not been submitted for certification? The local distributors have not even applied for the NoC of the film,” said Central Board of Film Censors Chairperson Mobashir Hasan.
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“We certify every film keeping Pakistan’s integrity, security and sovereignty in mind. As per our rules and regulations, we try our best to take every decision on merit,” he said. Asked if the board has received any specific instructions about Indian films, Hasan responded in the negative. “So far nothing has been communicated to us. We are working as per normal routine. Only last week, we approved Banjo without suggesting a single cut, giving it a Universal rating.”
Sindh Board of Film Censors Secretary Razzaq Khuhawar had similar thoughts to share. “The Indian media is portraying it wrongly. We believe in competition as it helps improve the quality of Pakistani films as well. We haven’t been instructed to ban or censor films in the context of the hostile situation,” he said. “We certified Banjo last week with a U rating but the audience didn’t like the film and it’s gradually being removed from screens. That’s the audience’s choice, not ours. We have not been directed to restrict any film.”
IMGC Entertainment, the distribution company that was supposed to bring the film to Pakistan, decided against importing it due to rising tensions between the two countries. “We wouldn’t want to release anything that can aggravate the current situation of the two countries. Dhoni is India’s hero so it’s risky,” the compnay’s media and marketing manager Sabina Islam told The Express Tribune.
Currently, Bollywood films like the Nargis Fakhri-starrer Banjo and Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Pink are playing in theatres with no objection from anyone.
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As ties worsen, many have been vocal of late. Indian film-makers like Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar have spoken out saying threatening and banning Pakistani artists won’t do anything to solve the problem. On the contrary, some like singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya and veteran actor Anupam Kher have been vocal against Pakistani artists.
“Make us feel that we have given you so much [in your career], and you can at least do lip service and say ‘I am sorry for your pain and I condemn this act of terrorism’,” said Kher, in a message to Pakistani artists.
However, the Indian film community at large has been careful about commenting on the situation, as to not cause any more controversy. When asked by IANS, M.S. Dhoni director Pandey thought best to keep his opinion private. “I have an opinion, a strong opinion on that. But I wouldn’t want to share it on a public platform.”
Courtesy : Express Tribune