As India and Pakistan hit full throttle on the banning spree, India's Central Board of Film Certification chief Pahlaj Nihalani explains why the ban on Pakistani artistes is unjustifiable.
After the Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association (IMPPA) passed a resolution banning Pakistani talent from working in India, Nihalani reportedly said, “To give a visa to any Pakistani is the sole decision of the government, and we as producers and actors, are saying they are not terrorists and that art and culture should never come in between."
Supporting Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan on their decision to work with Pakistani actors, he reasoned that the two had brought Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan on board their films while relations between both countries were good and to ban Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees at this point would be unjustifiable.
He added, "These artistes who have worked in these films should not be asked to leave. They have every right to work here."
Film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi, although agreed with the ban on Pakistani artistes till the situation normalises, shared largely the same view as the chief of India CBFC, saying, "Logically speaking, blocking the release of the Ranbir Kapoor-Anushka Sharma-Aishwarya Rai starrer at this point of time will have zilch effect on Fawad Khan! The man has taken his fees for acting in the film and is happily back at home in Lahore now."
He went on to add that the people who will suffer from the ban are Dharma Productions (which belongs to an Indian producer, KJo), India-based studio called Foxstar (which has invested many INR in ADHM), Ranbir Kapoor (who is an Indian actor), Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (an international icon, again an Indian actor) and film exhibitors across India.
Rathi questioned who was being anti nationalist at this point, "The people who have made Ae Dil Hai Mushkil or the ones who threaten to defy the Indian CBFC’s verdict and hamper the release of a film that is poised to plough a lot of money into the Indian film industry?"
Earlier, Indian film association member Rahul Aggarwal resigned after the ban on Pakistani artistes saying that "art is above politics and as the custodians of this art; it is our responsibility to bring people together rather than divide them."