Mumbai: Just when we thought the controversy around ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ and ‘Raees’ has started to fade away, Farhan Akhtar’s decision of not contributing to National Defense Fund for the release of his film ‘Raees’ has added fuel to the fire. The actor-filmmaker has said that unlike the makers of ADHM, he will not pay 5 Cr to National Defence Fund as compensation for casting Pakistani actress Mahira Khan in ‘Raees’ which he has co-produced.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had objected to the release of ADHM and ‘Raees’ featuring Pakistani actors Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan. In the wake of the Uri attacks, MNS had given a 48-hour ultimatum to all Pakistani actors to leave India including Fawad Khan. MNS had initially banned both the movies and criticised the makers of the films for working with Pakistani artists. After a series of meetings, Raj Thackeray-led MNDS had given nod to ADHM’s release with the condition that the makers pay 5 Cr to Indian Army to show respect towards them. Karan Johar, the producer of ADHM, not only agreed to paying the amount but also promised never to work with Pakistanis again.
But this controversy revolving around Pakistani artists working in India is far from over. Farhan Akhtar, who has co-produced Shah Rukh Khan-Mahira Khan starrer ‘Raees’, has refused to pay any money to Indian Army saying because the army wouldn’t take it.
"No question of giving Rs 5 crore to the Army as they have refused to take it,” Farhan was quoted as saying.
This statement of Akhtar’s has upset the MNS. In response to Farhan Akhtar’s statement, Ameya Khopkar, MNS Chief for film wing, said, “Release nazdik aane do phir dekh lenge (Let the film's release come closer, we will look into it). By the way, where were these people when the decision of donating R5 crores was taken? Suddenly everyone is waking up."
Questioning the procedure filmmakers undertake in bringing Pakistani actors to India, Khopkar further added, “We all know on what kind of visa these Pakistani actors come and work here. If we open the documents, producers will land in a big soup. When producers are ready to pay these Pakistani artistes, why are they hesitating to donate money to the Indian Army?"
The ‘Rock On’ star expressed his disappointment over state’s alleged failure in protecting the film industry from succumbing to any kind of pressure tactics. "We are law abiding tax payers and the state should take care of us," Farhan had commented.
‘Raees’ is slated to release on January 26 next year....