Online news channel!

Tag: karan-johar

From Demonetisation to Donald Trump: The biggest stories of 2016, as voted by our readers

2016 was a remarkable year for news.

Filled with stories painted in all sorts of hues, it’s unlikely there’s been a year that was as uplifting as it was saddening, as rewarding as it was frustrating, as exhilarating, as shocking.

Roughly 10 days ago, we began asking you what you thought was the biggest story of the year across a variety of sections.

Here’s what you thought:

Let’s start with Business, where your biggest story of the year — somewhat unsurprisingly — was demonetisation.

In a surprising move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November, and in the process, sucked out a major chunk of currency notes in the country. As there weren’t enough notes of smaller denominations to replace the banned ones, the move created an artificial cash crunch.

People queued up in front of banks and ATMs to withdraw cash and deposit old notes. As they are still struggling to come to terms with the situation, nobody has been able to fathom the real impact of the move on daily lives. Demonetisation will remain the biggest news story not only of 2016, but even in 2017.

Demonetisation, however, wasn’t just a business story. An all-encompassing story like that affected all walks of life.

Which is probably why you voted it the biggest story of the year in terms of General News too. But since that’s covered above, let’s look at the second biggest news story of the year: Donald Trump being elected President of the United States.

Reams of newsprint and hours of airtime have been devoted to just why this was such an earthshaking story. In fact, the very idea that a rank outsider — a joke candidate, if we’re being honest — at the start of the campaign trail could swat aside all opponents to become the (arguably) most powerful man in the world was laughable. And when it happened, it shook not just the US, but the world at large.

The road to the election was marked by mudslinging, insults, accusations, sexism and much more unpleasant stuff. Ever since it became official that Trump will take office in January 2017, the entire world has been wondering just what he will do when he enters the White House. It was both his journey to presidency and the concerns about what he will do next that made this such a massive story.

In Sports, it was the rise of PV Sindhu that found the most takers.

Sindhu became an overnight sensation after her stunning run at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she came away with the silver medal. Her incredible ability, combined with her perseverance, made her the nation’s next biggest sporting icon of 2016. After Rio, she went on to win the China Open, her first Super Series title, the Malaysia Masters, and finished as runner-up in the Hong Kong Open.

On her debut at the season-ending Dubai World Super Series Final, she reached the semis and even avenged her Olympic loss to Carolina Marin in the group stage. With these brilliant performances, she consolidated both her own and India’s position as a force to be reckoned with in international badminton. Her dominance also neatly plugged the gap left by an injured Saina Nehwal, and we hope she continues to shine even brighter in the years to come.

In the world of Technology, it was the exploding Samsung Note 7 that you picked.

The Note 7 was quite an interesting phone. In fact, we at Firstpost had a chance to use the smartphone for a short bit when it was announced in India and came away impressed. Soon after its announcement, the phablet had started selling in a few markets. Not even a month had passed and around 30 different reports of certain units catching fire began to trickle in. This turned into a deluge and the first stock for India was delayed.

Samsung even issued a statement confirming the battery malfunction issue. The company immediately began sending out replacement units to Note 7 consumers. Sadly, the second and even third replacement units were still catching fire. It was a complete disaster. The smartphone was banned from flights and announcements were made advising Note 7 users not to use the handset while travelling. Nothing screams bad PR like such public service announcements at the airport.

After numerous replacements, the company had no choice but to announce a global recall of the smartphone. One of the biggest in consumer electronics history. It sent out boxes to consumers asking them to return the handset, as it was a serious threat. It even announced and rolled out software updates to restrict battery charging. Eventually, the Note 7 had to be killed.

In the world of Entertainment, you voted for the ban on Pakistani artistes.

In the aftermath of the Uri terror attack, followed by the surgical strikes in September this year, various sections of the population demanded a ban on Pakistani artistes from the film industry. This meant that any impending film, concert or event featuring a Pakistani artiste or actor had no place in India. Some members of the Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India announced they wouldn’t release films featuring Pakistani artistes in four states — Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka.

The Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association also said that it had effectively banned any Pakistani artiste from India. This lead to a conflict in the release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. MNS chief Raj Thackeray took it upon himself to ensure this ban was followed. After much running around, and hush-hush conversations with the Maharashtra chief minister, the matter was finally resolved.

Which brings us to Social Media, where the most viral story of the year — as selected by you — was the visual of the Syrian boy covered in blood and dust.

Shared a million times over, this image of five-year old Omran Daqneesh emerged as the ultimate reminder of the horror and trauma thousands of people, especially children, face due to the Syrian civil war. Omran was one of five children wounded during a military strike.

Widely shared on social media, the photograph makes it impossible to forget little Omran in the ambulance, stunned by the bloody chaos. The video in which he is seen wiping dust and blood from his face is considered as one of the strongest visuals of the ravages of war in the past year.

And there you have it.

Those are the biggest stories of 2016, as voted by you.

Bring on 2017!

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 15:01 IST

Hindu Sena has no love for ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, raises slogans against film

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members of ‘Hindu Sena’ held protests on Friday against Karan Johar produced movie ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ .The protesters were raising slogans against the movie to ‘Ban all the films of Pakistani artistes’.Earlier, MNS ended their protest against ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ and ‘Raees’ after a closed-door meeting between party supremo Raj Thackeray, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Karan Johar, Mukesh Bhatt and others.Claiming victory and satisfaction at having achieved their demands, Thackeray revealed that he has received assurances from the film industry that henceforth they wouldn’t be working with any Pakistani actors. Raj also set forth conditions that filmmakers who worked with Pakistan actors will have to comply with.In a video statement on October 17, Johar expressed a “deep sense of hurt and pain” by the charge of being anti-national. “I condemn terror in the strongest terms, I respect our Army, for me, the country comes first,” the 44-year-old said.

DNA Morning Must Reads: India, Pak seek recall of expelled HC staffers; Top Pak Army officer for India spy mission; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Espionage case: India, Pakistan seek recall of expelled High commission staffersPakistan also declared an Indian High Commission official Surjeet Singh as persona non-grata. It has asked HC to make urgent necessary arrangements for Singh and his family to leave Pakistan by October 29. Read more.2. Top Pak Army officer handpicked Mehmood Akhtar for India spy missionMehmood Akhtar, a Havildar in the Pakistani Army, was handpicked for the espionage mission by a top army officer who was once in the race to be the Pakistan Army Chief. Read more.3. Maharashtra: Hungry for 2 days, Kalyan woman kills herself, 2 kidsThe US government said at least 15,000 people were tricked into shelling out more than $300 million. Read more.4. Karan Johar admits to getting botoxedThat and other secrets revealed in the KWK trailer. Read more.5. After securing Villarreal move, FC Pune City’s wonder boy Ashique Kuruniyan has big plansKerala boy Ashique Kuruniyan says his ultimate dream is to wear India jersey. Read more.

Karan Johar is ‘conveniently patriotic’: Pro-RSS journal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dubbing Karan Johar as “conveniently patriotic”, a pro-RSS journal has accused the filmmaker of having discovered his latent patriotism ahead of his movie’s release in the face of a big financial loss.An article in the “Organiser” has come down heavily on Johar for going ahead with his movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM) featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan despite a call not to employ such artistes after the Uri attack.Attacking filmmakers like Johar and actors like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Om Puri, the article says they are living in ivory towers far away from the country’s burning borders who think patriotism is a cumbersome burden to be borne only by men in uniform.”Karan Johar too has been largely silent against the Uri attacks. He seems to have discovered his latent patriotism only now, on the eve of the release of his movie, in the face of a big financial loss. But even in his video statement, there has been a careful and concerted attempt to mention the word ‘ban’, whereas, in reality, there is no official ban on the movie at all,” the article said.Attacking him and some actors who had joined the intolerance debate in the country, it said, “They start getting concerned only when terrorism threatens their own backyards, as it did on 26/11. On all other days, for them, patriotism is a cumbersome burden to be borne only by our men in uniform.”The article says Johar’s video statement deliberately attempts to obfuscate the difference between an enforced “ban” and a voluntary economic “boycott” and the “liberal echo chambers” have already started to amplify this view. It accuses Johar of exploiting the feeling of patriotism for commercial purposes several times in his movies.”That Karan Johar is aware of the ‘country’s sentiments’ is obvious,” the article says, adding if one observes the music videos and promos of ADHM being aired on TV carefully, you can clearly see that he has minimised Fawad Khan’s presence to a ‘blink and you will miss him’ frame. It says the movie posters feature only Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai and the songs feature mostly Ranbir.”Johar is no fool. He knows exactly what the current mood prevalent in the nation is like. Johar knows fully well that the people of India are so outraged against the cowardly Uri attacks and the silence of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan over the incident that they are considering a spontaneous boycott of his film,” the article says.”Most importantly, Johar knows that spontaneous boycott by the audience hits where it hurts – on the economic front!” it said citing the box office failure of Shah Rukh’s movie “Fan” as movie-goers decided to boycott it spontaneously after Khan’s intolerance comment.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil controversy: Pro-RSS journal says Karan Johar ‘conveniently patriotic’

New Delhi: Dubbing Karan Johar as “conveniently patriotic”, a pro-RSS journal has accused the filmmaker of having discovered his latent patriotism ahead of his movie’s release in the face of a big financial loss.

An article in the “Organiser” has come down heavily on Johar for going ahead with his movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM) featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan despite a call not to employ such artistes after the Uri attack.

Attacking filmmakers like Johar and actors Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Om Puri, the article says they are living in ivory towers far away from the country’s burning borders who think patriotism is a cumbersome burden to be borne only by men in uniform.

“Karan Johar too has been largely silent against the Uri attacks. He seems to have discovered his latent patriotism only now, on the eve of the release of his movie, in the face of a big financial loss.

Filmmaker Karan Johar. Reuters

Filmmaker Karan Johar. Reuters

“But even in his video statement, there has been a careful and concerted attempt to mention the word ‘ban’, whereas, in reality, there is no official ban on the movie at all,” the article said.

Attacking him and some actors who had joined the intolerance debate in the country, it said, “They start getting concerned only when terrorism threatens their own backyards, as it did on 26/11. On all other days, for them, patriotism is a cumbersome burden to be borne only by our men in uniform.”

The article says Johar’s video statement deliberately attempts to obfuscate the difference between an enforced “ban” and a voluntary economic “boycott” and the “liberal echo chambers” have already started to amplify this view.

It accuses Johar of exploiting the feeling of patriotism for commercial purposes several times in his movies.

“That Karan Johar is aware of the ‘country’s sentiments’ is obvious,” the article says, adding if one observes the music videos and promos of ADHM being aired on TV carefully, you can clearly see that he has minimised Fawad Khan’s presence to a ‘blink and you will miss him’ frame.

It says the movie posters feature only Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai and the songs feature mostly Ranbir.

“Johar is no fool. He knows exactly what the current mood prevalent in the nation is like. Johar knows fully well that the people of India are so outraged against the cowardly Uri attacks and the silence of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan over the incident that they are considering a spontaneous boycott of his film,” the article says.

“Most importantly, Johar knows that spontaneous boycott by the audience hits where it hurts – on the economic front!” it said citing the box office failure of Shah Rukh’s movie “Fan” as movie-goers decided to boycott it spontaneously after Khan’s intolerance comment.

Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit slams India for trying to isolate it on terror

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid simmering tension in Indo-Pak ties, Pakistan on Monday slammed India for trying to isolate it on terrorism, saying the country has been the worst victim of the menace even as it called for sustained diplomacy to forge an “effective cooperative paradigm” to improve relations.Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit said the issue of Jammu and Kashmir was the “root cause” of all problems between the two countries and that Pakistan does not need “misplaced jingoism and hypernationalism” to pursue its foreign policy objectives.”How on earth is it possible to isolate a country on terrorism when that country itself is the worst victim of terrorism,” he said. He was speaking at the Indian Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. It is only through sustained diplomacy that Pakistan and India can address their issues and forge an effective cooperative paradigm to their mutual benefit, he said.Talking about his country’s ties with India, he said Kashmir issue “has made us mutually antagonistic. Let its just resolution unite us in peace and prosperity.””Pakistan is a proud country of 200 million people. It does not need misplaced jingoism and hypernationalism to pursue its foreign policy objectives,” he said.”To claim that those who attended Burhan Wani’s funeral were instigated by Pakistan is wrong. We need to move from symbolism to substance and from conflict management to conflict resolution. I think the two countries need to agree to formalise the 2003 ceasefire agreement. When Uri attack was underway, Pakistan was being blamed, this when we did not even know what was happening” said Basit. Commenting on the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil row, Basit said, “I am glad that Karan Johar’s flick is out of ‘mushkil’.”

MNS vs Karan Johar: Putting country first is prosaic, jingoism does not further our interests

He is, after all, not an actor. No wonder Karan Johar did not quite ring true when he said, face solemn and voice quivering, “For me, my country comes first and nothing else matters to me but my country. I always put country first.”

It did sound like he protested too much. But that’s what was needed to appease the Mumbai mafiosi, along with the Rs 5 crore ransom, and KJo succumbed. It didn’t matter whether he meant it or not; that he mouthed their formula was enough for our uber-nationalists.

But really, what does it mean if anything? Does country come first with anyone at all? Do you know one person who has put country before all else? Before oneself, family, friends? Before career, the good life, a place in the sun? People have seen ghosts sooner.

File photo of Karan Johar. AFPFile photo of Karan Johar. AFP

File photo of Karan Johar. AFP

Not KJo, for whom saving the film, his career, his survival in Bollywood, his investors, as also the “over 300 Indian people in my crew”, who have “put their blood, sweat and tears” into his star-crossed film, obviously trumped all else.

Not the obstreperous MNS either, which seems to be the Indian counterpart of the angry white American male — compensating for electoral weakness by a show of rude brute power.

Not Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who certainly hasn’t done anyone any favour by legitimising extortion in the name of “finding an amicable solution”. If country had to come first with Fadnavis, he would have upheld the rule of law, instead of inviting Raj Thackeray to the high table and forcing the film industry to eat crow as if Thackeray was in the right.

Not the Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India too. Their refusal to screen films with Pakistani actors in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa has more to do with safeguarding their property, investments and insurance premiums from marauding hordes that political parties there evidently have on tap than with their patriotic ardour.

Is there anyone, then, putting the country above all? The army did you say? Are you sure? Aren’t they just doing their job? Doing it well no doubt, but still doing what they are supposed to be doing. Doesn’t defending our land fall within their line of duty? Why else are they there? Efficient distribution of flood or drought relief can hardly be the military’s raison d’etre.

They are, of course brave, competent, professional and quite deserving of their Param Vir Chakras and subsidised liquor. No one wants any harm to befall them either. But all said and done, risking life and limb is an occupational hazard for our heroic fighters. Just as it is for manual scavengers, miners, even passers-by on Kolkata streets at the mercy of maniacal bus drivers.

As for our boys in blue, no one wants them to be dreaming of anything beyond victory runs, records, personal glory, the next endorsement contact, has-beens like Gautam Gambhir notwithstanding. In their case, what is good for them is good for the country too.

It is convention that makes people say, “I have always put country first and this time it’s no different,” as did India’s highest-ranked squash player Dipika Pallikal after her initial reservations over participating in the 2014 Asian Games for unfair draws. It’s not done to blurt out, I want it for myself, the money, the fame, the glamour, and the rest are mere add-ons.

So, Mr India finalist Jitesh Thakur, readying to take part in the first Mr Supranational 2016, told The Times of India on 21 October, “I am totally honoured to be able to represent my country at an international pageant. It is not about me anymore, it is about India and nothing is bigger than that.” What else could he say?

Did the prosperous and prosperous-looking NRIs, who throng Madison Square Garden or Wembley Stadium or wherever Prime Minister Narendra Modi happens to alight during his frequent sojourns abroad, put their country first when they escaped its chaos and corruption, its poverty and stench, its jostling crowds and inadequate facilities for a deluxe lifestyle elsewhere?

Does country come first with anyone at all? Do you know one person who has put country before all else?

Even now, are they putting country first by pushing the Hindutva agenda abroad? It was at an event organised by the Republican Hindu Coalition at Edison, New Jersey, on 15 October, that Donald Trump declared, “I am a big fan of Hindu and I am a big fan of India. Big big fan.” In this Trump was smart. By conflating the two he was erring on the side of caution.

What if he failed to be President, this support would still come in handy. As he told NDTV, “I’ll be honest, I have great respect for India. I actually have jobs going up in India.” There you have it. Since with Trump you get what you see (however unpalatable that may be), you find him openly putting his own interests first.

Who else? Team Modi, who has unleashed such a tidal wave of nationalistic fervour that even questioning or evaluating the government’s actions is being seen as treasonable? Well, was Team Modi putting India first when they blocked GST, Aadhar, FDI in multi-brand retail trade and other UPA-II schemes when they were in the Opposition, the very same schemes they are now implementing with gusto?

Isn’t it time that we accept “putting country first” is mere platitude and not an actionable tenet at all? Not for us mere mortals, not for the greats who rule us. The more we mouth such inanities the more we give a fillip to competitive patriotism, vitiating the atmosphere to such an extent that a wheelchair-bound invalid can be punched for sitting during the national anthem while a hall full of people simply stand as mute spectators.

Only suicide bombers can and do put country, rather ideology, above all. Hardly a role model don’t you think? The most we can hope for is, like cricketers’, our interests further our nation’s too. Ultra-nationalism does not.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil row: Army officials ‘upset’ over being dragged into politics

New Delhi: Senior Army officials and veterans were “upset” over the force being dragged into “politics” over films after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) demanded that producers of movies employing Pakistani actors pay Rs 5 core to an army welfare fund.

The controversy erupted after Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil ran into a storm of protests led by MNS because Pakistani actor Fawad Khan has a role in it.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The film has been allowed to be released after its producers met with three conditions put forward by MNS chief Raj Thackeray, including payment of Rs 5 crore to Army Welfare Fund.

“All contributions (to welfare fund) are to be voluntary. Extortion is not allowed. We would want people to contribute on their own rather than under any coercion,” a senior army official said on Sunday.

He said the army is “upset” over being dragged into this politics.

“The army is completely apolitical. It is wrong to drag the force into politics,” another army official said.

“(We) would never support it,” Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd), former military secretary, said when asked if he supports the move of the MNS.

“Why should the armed forces be made a part of this extortion? By accepting this money they would become a ‘receiver’ of tainted money,” tweeted Air Vice-Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd).

Army sources said that they have a system in place to check all contributions and can even reject a contribution made under duress or by any person whom the force does not want to be associated with.

BJP will ruin country: Kejriwal on Fadnavis’ role in ADHM row

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday lashed out at the BJP over his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis’ role in mediating talks between the MNS and fimmakers in ensuring release of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. “BJP will ruin the country,” Kejriwal tweeted, agreeing to another post that described the solutions arrived at as “extortionist”. MNS chief Raj Thackeray has faced flak from various quarters, including the Army, over his conditions that filmmakers who worked with Pakistani actors have to comply with including a contribution of Rs 5 crore to the Army welfare fund. Fadnavis has also been facing criticism from the Opposition parties for “bowing” to the highhanded tactics of the MNS and “failing” to ensure rule of law in Maharashtra. Under pressure from political and other outfits, Bollywood film producers had yesterday announced that they will not engage with Pakistani artistes, clearing decks for the smooth release of Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”.MNS had threatened to disrupt the screening of the film as it features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. Johar has agreed to put a special mention in the beginning of the film paying homage to martyrs, a move to assuage sentiments in the country triggered by the terror attack on an army base in Uri that claimed the lives of 19 security personnel. Thackeray said MNS laid down three conditions that filmmakers who worked with Pakistani actors have to comply with. These include a contribution of Rs 5 crore to the Army welfare fund.

Ban people who did not condemn attack on India: BJP MP Manoj Tiwari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) MP and actor ‘Manoj Tiwari’ expressed satisfaction over the release of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ on the scheduled date after the producer assured that he won’t work with Pakistani actors.”I am delighted over the decision, and I have always advocated the fact that the movies which have been made earlier should be released; but in future, films casting Pakistani actors should be banned. As the makers of ‘Ae Dil hai Mushkil’ assured that they will not make movies with actors from Pakistan,” he said.”We should at least ban people who did not condemn attack on India. Their work should be stopped,” he added.”Filmmakers, who have signed Pakistani actors will have to pay Rs. 5 crore as ‘penance’ for army welfare,” Raj Thackeray said on Saturday, suggesting he will not block the release of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, after producers promised not to cast Pakistani actors in the future.”Ae Dil… director Karan Johar, producers’ guild president Mukesh Bhatt met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Thackeray, whose Maharashtra Navnirman Sena or MNS is among outfits that had threatened to vandalise cinemas and block the film as it stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.

We’re firm on our stand but open for talks: COEAI on Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Mumbai: Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India today said Mharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) call to end the protest against Ae Dil Hai Mushkil will not affect its decision to ban the film’s screening in four states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Karnataka — but it is open to discussion with director Karan Johar.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil poster new 380

COEAI announced last week that it won’t screen films with Pakistani actors putting Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in trouble as it stars Fawad Khan. The film is set to hit theatres on October 28 just before Diwali.

“The stand we took earlier continues even now. The final stand will be taken by the executive committee on Monday. We can’t talk about the future but right now we stick to our stand,” Nitin Datar, who is the President of COEAI, told PTI.

“Our stand was not according to MNS. Ours is different. MNS sat with them and discusses the issue and sorted it out… Karan Johar should come to us and talk to us… There is always a solution,” he added.

MNS’ decision to officially call off the protests came after Johar, Producers’ Guild president Mukesh Bhatt and Raj Thackeray met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at his residence ‘Varsha’ on Saturday morning.

When asked if COEAI is ready to meet Johar, Datar said, “Why should any association or person refuse to talk? If MNS can solve the problem why others can’t do that? It does not mean the problem will get solved but unless you come together how can we say anything? They solved the problem by discussing ‘patriotic terms’ and paying money and Karan Johar agreed to that. Regarding our problem and dealing, he has to call us. Someone has to approach. This is the statement I gave earlier also that there is always a scope for settlement.”

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil to release on schedule, MNS calls off protest after meeting CM, Mukesh Bhatt

Film and Television Producers Guild of India president Mukesh Bhatt and filmmaker Karan Johar met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Saturday regarding the release of the film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

After the meeting, Bhatt announced that it was decided that Johar will put a special mention paying homage to the Indian soldiers who were killed in the Uri terror attack at the beginning of the film and also announced that the producers guild will not be working with Pakistani artistes in the future.

Addressing the media, he said, “We had a very constructive meeting on how to resolve the unfortunate events that have happened before the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

Poster of Karan Johar film 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil'.Poster of Karan Johar film 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil'.

Poster of Karan Johar film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’.

“On behalf of my fraternity, I have shared the emotions of the filmmakers that we are Indians first and our Indian sentiments are more important to us than our business. We have come to an understanding to prove what we mean. I assured the chief minister and Raj Thackeray that the guild has taken a decision with the larger interest of the country that we will not work with any more Pakistani artistes,” he said.

He added that keeping in spirit with the national sentiments, Johar has offered to put a slate honouring the soldiers killed in the Uri attack.

“Bollywood producers as well as Johar will also contribute to the army welfare fund to the Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar. We believe that we owe this to the army,” Bhatt said.

After the meeting ended, a spokesperson for the MNS said, “We will not oppose Ae Dil Hai Mushkil‘s release.”

On Thursday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had assured Bhatt that the film will get a safe and secure release in theatres on 28 October — two days before Diwali.

A delegation led by Bhatt had met Singh, who assured them a “great Diwali” with the release of the film.

Following the 18 September Uri attack and Indian Army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control, heightened tension between India and Pakistan had a spillover effect on Bollywood. It sparked off a debate whether Pakistani artistes should be allowed to work in India or not.

While MNS issued an ultimatum to Pakistani artistes to leave India, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association passed a resolution asking producers to avoid working with talents from Pakistan. And Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which stars popular Pakistani artist Fawad Khan, became the first target

With inputs from PTI

Soft target

Bollywood director Karan Johar’s promise not to work with Pakistani actors could end up encouraging bigotry, argues Sidharth Bhatia.

Mukesh Bhatt on Ae Dil Hai Mushkil row: ‘Rajnath Singh has assured full govt support’

Mukesh Bhatt on Ae Dil Hai Mushkil row: ‘Rajnath Singh has assured full govt support’


Ahead of the release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Mukesh Bhatt (president of Film and TV Producers Guild), Dharma Productions’ Apurva Mehta and Fox Star India’s Vijay Singh have gone to meet the Home ministry to ensure full support of the release of the film.

Karan Johar himself was supposed to meet Rajnath Singh, but has not gone to Delhi on Thursday, 20 October. Instead, he may meet Singh in Mumbai on 21 October.

Before the meeting, Mukesh Bhatt had said, “I know my government will protect me. The government should have zero tolerance against violence.”

Meanwhile, Babul Supriyo, Asansol MP, who was also a part of the meeting said, “MNS is a party of goons.”

After the meeting, Bhatt revealed what Rajnath Singh said regarding the film’s release, “He (Rajnath Singh) will request everyone to to keep law and order intact with no violence at theatres. This assurance comforts me that I dont have to be scared. He has given me 100 percent assurance. MNS is our brothers who have gone astray. They have different thoughts. We dont wanna fight with our brothers. Let bygones be bygones and lets celebrate Diwali.”

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil: Deconstructing Karan Johar’s attempt at martyrdom

Karan Johar’s statement on the eve of his movie’s release and the accompanying breast-beating among our chardonnay-swigging socialists is mystifying, but not unexpected. No sooner has the embers of a phony ‘intolerance’ debate died down that another crafty narrative has emerged from its ashes.

This new, layered narrative holds that ever since Narendra Modi-led NDA government came to power, India is in the grip of a creeping fascist rule that uses any ruse — such as vilification of poor Pakistan and its well-meaning people — to whip up frothy jingoism which is then utilised as a danda against dissenting Indians. Johar’s video message where he proclaims his patriotism fits perfectly as the latest example of such government-sponsored persecution.

Our “desh“, cry anguished, indignant ‘liberals’, has quickly undergone so much “badal” that it can’t be recognised from even two years ago. Marauding barbarians are no longer waiting at the gates, they have broken through and are now pillaging the ‘idea of India’. The ‘secular fabric’ is being put through the washing machine of claustrophobic hatred. Armed men in jackboots are putting guns to the head of our artistes and creators and forcing them to say: “yes, yes, I am a patriot too”!

I use the word ‘mystifying’ because Johar’s statement reveals a lot more in the subtext than it does in the words made explicit. And the argument hidden in the subtext is based either on lack of information or a faulty interpretation of events tailored to tap into the victimhood narrative for easy conflation with the larger pseudo-liberal charge of “fascism” against Modi government.


Karan Johar in his video statement.

Before I come to the timing of Johar’s message, which is no less significant, let’s first do away with the cobweb of deception that he spins.

The nub of the debate is that the director’s upcoming Diwali release Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM), also featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, is under threat. The threat has emerged from two sources.

One, a body of mainly single-screen theatre owners in four states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa have decided not to screen ADHM keeping in mind “public sentiment”. The Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India’s (COEAI) decision is not binding on any of its members.

As Indian Express points out, “only two institutions can disallow a film from playing at cinemas – CBFC and the court of law. No organisation, association or political outfit can threaten or advice to ban a film from cinemas that too after the film has been cleared by the CBFC. Such a ban is illegal.”

Great. So what has been the role played by CBFC, a government body?

The Pahlaj Nihalani-headed Central Board of Film Certification has cleared the movie with a U/A certificate. Nihalani has, in fact, criticised the cinema owners for their attempt to stop the screening. Crucially, multiplexes, the target audience for Johar’s vanilla flicks, have not sought any ban.

The second threat to ADHM comes from Mumbai-based Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which has issued a veiled threat against multiplexes. MNS leader Amey Khopkar was quoted by PTI as saying: “We will oppose the screening of the movie everywhere in the state. If any multiplex operator dares to screen the film, they (operators) should remember that multiplexes are decorated with expensive glass sheets”.

Though the Central and state governments have had no role to play in these moves, a point is being made that it is the responsibility of the administrative machinery to provide security for the film. Fair enough. Let us take a look at what Devendra Fadnavis administration has done on this front. Can it be accused of dereliction of duty?

A team from Johar’s Dharma Productions has met Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar and Joint Police Commissioner (law and order) Deven Bharti. The team, which was also accompanied by Vijay Singh of Fox Star Studios (the distributors) and Mukesh Bhatt (president of Film & Television Producers Guild of India) has sought protection for multiplexes who plan to screen the film from 28 October.

The Telegraph reports that cops have assured all help from their end with Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe clarifying: “Mumbai police will provide adequate protection to cinema theatres as and when required.”

It’s clear that not only has the government at any level not called for a ban, the administration of the sole state where ADHM faces threats of vandalism from a marginalised political party has promised all help and protection. The cops have assured that all multiplexes and even single screen theaters would be adequately insured and protected. And to suggest that a few non-participating single-screen owners can even mildly affect ADHM’s box-office collections is laughable.

So the question is, whom did Johar refer to when he said “it’s not fair to scrap the film now. I respect the country’s sentiment today. I condemn terror and have immense respect for the Army. But to ban the film is unfair to my crew…”

If the government has ensured protection and multiplexes are ready to screen his Diwali release, why is he so perturbed? The answer, as the newest winner of Nobel Prize in Literature would have said, “is blowin’ in the wind.”

Johar may not be a critically acclaimed director but as the maker of box office hits, few would know the pulse of the nation better than him. Patriotism might be a dirty word in some conceited circles but it throbs in the veins of unwashed commoners. The consecutive attacks on our soldiers from non-state actors reared, funded and furbished by Pakistan has been the proverbial straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

When Indian army moved across the LoC and demolished some of the terror factories, they were also acknowledging that collective call for payback emanating from a billion Indians. A shaker of dreams and mover of emotions like Johar would understand that this impulse, right now, can only be ignored at his own peril.

Johar’s statement, therefore, wasn’t induced by gun-toting government agents, as some bilious ‘liberals’ have suggested. It was a belated acknowledgement of that will that is fed up with Pakistan-sponsored terror and disgusted with apologists from this side of the border who routinely justify the million perfidies of that state for reasons best known to them.

A common refrain is that people-to-people connect goes a long way in stabilising and maintaining peaceful a relationship with neighbours, however misguided they are.

If cross-cultural exchanges are beneficial to both nations, why have ties not been normalised despite seven decades of exchanges? Why have we been forced to fight repeated wars against Pakistan despite a thousand ghazal concerts and a million cocktail parties? Why has Pakistan slapped a blanket ban on all our movies and channels? Is the onus of maintaining good relations only our prerogative? Won’t business as usual send a signal that Pakistan is to be rewarded for its perpetual delinquency?

Much has been said about Johar’s apparent “groveling tone” and how he has been unjustly forced into compliance. The self-shaming is an invocation of the same narrative that sees fascism behind every ticking of clock.

Truth is, the government has made it amply clear that visas of Pakistani actors will not be revoked and they are free to work as before and that people-to-people exchange will continue. In absence of a tangible reason, Johar’s “groveling tone” is therefore a clarion call against public mood that is in favour of a spontaneous boycott. It is this that has sent the chill in his spine.

Johar kept mum till he realised that he may be hit with a financial loss. In his words on not casting Pakistani actors “Going forward I would like to say that of course I will not engage with talent from the neighboring country given the circumstance,” there is still a sense of outrage. The subtext is that of a war that he doesn’t recognise and has no stake in.

After all, the mortars that rain on our border, the bullets that pierce the walls of our villages are far removed from his glitzy stratosphere. The world that the likes of Johar and Bhatt inhabit is different. They spreads love in eternal spring, guided by mellifluous ghazals that speak of common ancestry while our men in uniforms ring up relatives of a 24-year-old sepoy to tell them that their breadwinner has “attained martyrdom”.

As a retired Indian Major recently wrote in an open letter: “Will sending Pakistani artists back, stopping cricket and business with Pakistan actually end terror from Pakistan? No, it most certainly will not. But there is an emotion called solidarity. You cannot make films, play cricket and do business as if everything is fine, because it is not. It makes the soldier wonder aloud, “Why should I alone bear the weight of conflict?”

For our ‘narrative-makers’ though, Johar’s attempt at ‘martyrdom’ rings truer than the deaths of a hundreds of Sudhees Kumars. Sudhees who?

ADHM row | ‘Remember how expensive your glass walls are’: MNS threatens multiplex owners

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Looks like the much awaited release of Karan Johar’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ is in for more hurdles as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena recently sent a note on social media asking multiplex owners to ‘stay away from airing films featuring Pakistani actors’.A Twitter post read, “We will not let the film air even in Multiplexes as it features Pakistani actors. Multiplex owners need to stay away from airing films featuring Pakistani actors.”The serious note was accompanied by another threatening message that said, “Or else…remember how expensive your glass walls are!”Pakistani artistes working in Bollywood were asked to leave the country in the wake of the Uri terror attack that killed 19 Indian soldiers. Movies that star these artistes also began to face trouble.However, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) had earlier requested with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leaders to allow the release of films starring the Pakistani artistes.Following this, the movie was recently given the green signal as it has already been shot and ready for release.Starring Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ is slated to release this Diwali on October 28.

Anurag Kashyap has raised a valid question; Prime Minister Narendra Modi must answer

It takes some courage to ask questions these days — and Anurag Kashyap has displayed plenty of it, in asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi why he has not apologised to the nation for his trip to Pakistan last year.

The reaction on social media and in the real world, has been predictable. Kashyap has been subjected to the vilest of criticism from key-board patriots and jingoists of all denominations. As is usual, foul-mouthed elements have taken charge, egged on by hyper-nationalistic sections in the media. Kashyap, no stranger to controversies, can take all that in his stride. However, he has asked a question that needs to be answered with due seriousness.

Anurag Kashyap's tweet to PM Narendra Modi is about how the interests of people like him, and colleague Karan Johar, who make financial investments under certain assumptions, can be protectedAnurag Kashyap's tweet to PM Narendra Modi is about how the interests of people like him, and colleague Karan Johar, who make financial investments under certain assumptions, can be protected

Anurag Kashyap’s tweet to PM Narendra Modi expresses support for embattled colleague Karan Johar

On the face of it, it makes no sense to drag the Prime Minister into an issue he has nothing to do with directly. Films are far removed from the world he operates in; however, the issue here is not confined to films alone. As Kashyap points out elsewhere, it is about protecting people like him. It is also about the positive business environment Modi loves talking about.

Kashyap tweeted:

He batted for Karan Johar, whose latest film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, has run into trouble after threats from local political outfits over the presence of Pakistani artistes in it.

Let’s keep aside sentiments and try to understand the matter with some clarity: Films are like business projects with a long gestation period. When Johar started his project, India’s relationship with Pakistan was looking up. The Prime Minister himself had given it a boost by his surprise visit to the country. It was all bonhomie and ‘good neighbours’ talk then.

Since there was no tension in the air and the political leadership sought deeper engagement with Pakistan, Johar and others in the industry roped in artistes from that country without hesitation. They obviously took it for granted that the equations would remain unchanged and invested financially in the projects. A few months later, the chill set in. The ruling establishment, with Modi in the lead, was now singing the opposite tune. The mob took over the discourse soon, demanding boycott of films featuring artistes from Pakistan. Filmmakers’ investments were immediately at risk.

Now, how fair is this? When the government headed by the Prime Minister does policy flip-flops, why should others pay the price? Tomorrow, the government’s position might change. Under whatever circumstances, change of heart being one of them, it might encourage friendly relations with Pakistan. People who trust it may get into financial commitments again — and suffer when it changes its mind a few days later. There’s something inherently silly in this. Policies require stability; these cannot work on whims. Because on them ride several long-term commitments, financial and otherwise. This applies to all businesses, not only to films.

Read: Anurag Kashyap tweets to PM Modi, asks him to apologise for Pakistan trip

Interestingly, the BJP in its long campaign in the run-up to the general elections of 2014 had made a huge noise over policy stability. It had accused the UPA government of creating an environment of policy uncertainty that was driving away investment. Karan Johar may be a small player in the context of India’s big business universe, but his losses are still losses, aren’t they? Who’s going to protect him? India and Pakistan have a trade engagement worth more than $2.5 billion. Obviously, it involves a lot of businessmen from the Indian side, which remains on the sunny side of the balance of trade. There may be demands to stop their businesses too.

Yes, the Prime Minister must answer Kashyap’s question; at least, he can think of a solution to the problem of the unstable business environment. Because around him revolves all policies, including the Pakistan policy. People take his message on policies seriously — when it is positive, people like Johar jump in to capitalise on it; when it is negative, all kinds of rabid elements take it as licence to harass their own countrymen. A word of sympathy from him to the likes of Johar would do them a world of good, in terms of confidence. The least he can assure them is that their business interests would be protected in case of a policy shift.

Kudos to Kashyap for not hedging his words. He can ignore the hate brigade.

India will continue to give visa to Pakistani artistes, says Home Ministry

New Delhi: India has has no problem in issuing visas to Pakistani artistes, a Union Home Ministry official said on Friday.

File photo of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

File photo of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

“Government of India has no problem in giving visa to any Pakistani artiste,” a Home Ministry official told IANS.

“We have no problem in granting visas. If a person applies for visa and he fulfills the conditions, he gets it. It’s not that we don’t have to issue visa to Pakistani nationals,” he added.

Terrorism is being used as state policy by some nations and the world must unite against it, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday. “Some nations are using terror as their state policy. Those nations must be isolated,” Rajnath Singh said at the All India Christian Council (AICC) meet here, hinting at Pakistan without naming it. Terming India as the “university of tolerance”, Rajnath Singh said: “Terrorism has no religion, still some people try to link the two.”

The Minister said India was a secular state and there should not be any discrimination on the basis of religion.

The statement comes after the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India on Friday announced it will not allow release of films with Pakistani artistes in single screens 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. COEAI President Nitin Datar said after a meeting of members: “It was decided that keeping in mind the patriotic feelings and national interest, we have requested all member exhibitors to refrain from screening movies which have involvement of any Pakistani artiste, technician, director or music director.

In wake of the 18 September terror attack on an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir, that left 19 Indian soldiers dead, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena told Pakistani artistes to quit India, and threatened action against films like “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” and “Raees”, which have Pakistani artistes in them.

Subsequently, the Indian Motion Picture Producer Association said it has passed a resolution urging Indian filmmakers to avoid working with Pakistani artistes until bilateral tensions between the two countries subside.

Open letter: Major Gaurav Arya explains why he feels it’s necessary to ban Pakistani artists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the Uri attack in Kashmir which led to the death of 19 soldiers, and the subsequent surgical strike by the Indian Army on terrorist camps across the LoC, the situation between India and Pakistan has been tense. This also kicked up a raging debate on whether Pakistani actors and artistes should be allowed to work in India. While the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) eventually called for a ban, people have been divided into two camps, in support of the ban and against it. Salman Khan along with some other people in the film industry were criticised for speaking up against the ban. However, ex-armyman and veteran Major Gaurav Arya expressed his thoughts in an open letter, saying that while sending Pakistani actors back would not stop terror, it was about showing solidarity with Indian soldiers. Here’s what he wrote on Facebook:MALA FIDE INTENTOur boys have just about returned from across the Line of Control after a very successful surgical strike. The entire nation is delirious with joy; the entire nation, except a few.Today, I was part of a panel discussion in JNU, interestingly called “Intellectual Terrorism”. The term is self-explanatory, though wide ranging. I will discuss one type of intellectual terrorism here. The proponents of this type of terror are to found in every walk of life, but the roots of this disease are embedded in some institutions of higher learning. More of that some other time.Karan Johar wants to know if asking Fawad Khan to go back to Pakistan will stop terror. Mahesh Bhatt joins the chorus by saying “stop terrorism, not talks” implying that we must continue to talk to Pakistan. The cricket board will continue to play matches with Pakistan. Certain business houses will continue to do business with Pakistan. All this, while our soldiers are dying on the border.Will sending Pakistani artists back, stopping cricket and business with Pakistan actually end terror from Pakistan? No, it most certainly will not. But there is an emotion called solidarity. You cannot make films, play cricket and do business as if everything is fine, because it is not. It makes the soldier wonder aloud, “Why should I alone bear the weight of conflict?”This conflict between India and Pakistan is not the soldier’s personal war. He is dying and killing for you and me. Imagine a situation in which the soldier felt, and behaved, like Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt? Imagine if a soldier walked up to his superior and said, “Sir, while I am dying on the Line of Control, these people are going about as if everything is absolutely fine between the two countries.”How many of you would like it if a soldier felt that this was not his personal war, and he, like Mahesh Bhatt, should walk across the Line of Control and shake hands with a Pakistani soldier? Why should he alone sacrifice for India, when others were making merry?A soldier will die before the thinks of such treason, but its certainly food for thought, isn’t it?Patriotism and sacrifice is not the sole responsibility of the soldier. India is Mahesh Bhatt’s country, as much as it is the soldier’s.The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and the Russians did likewise when they boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. This is what happens when national interest is held paramount. And this is what must happen now.For 70 years, Pakistan has been killing Indian citizens. Are we so inured to the pain of our fellow brethren that making a movie or playing a cricket match takes precedence over a soldier’s mourning home?18 families have been shattered like glass. Not a word for them by our Bollywood royalty, mind you. But the pain of Fawad Khan’s departure is too much to bear, it seems. A tweet in support of Pakistani artists is mandatory.These directors and producers will have you believe that before Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sang for Bollywood, there was no music of significance in the Hindi film industry. The cricket board is so busy making money that a widow’s silent sob and an orphan’s scream does not matter. What actually matters are day and night matches between India and Pakistan. The most keenly contested sporting event in history, they say; even better than the Ashes.And the soldiers? Well, as far as they are concerned, they are on another planet, far removed from the glitzy Bollywood studios, and the teak paneled walls of the stately boardrooms of the BCCI. The blood, the mud, the screams and the exploding gunpowder are just distant and inconvenient, not very different from traffic during the Mumbai monsoons. Life must go on.Its easy to ask for peace when you are a thousand miles away from the Line of Control, and your primary concerns are which party to attend this evening and where to get financing for your next film.Peace is not a punch line. It is the end result of war.There is a 10-year-old girl, Aditi, who under stands the nation and its ebbs and flows far better than Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar. See her letter attached. Then see the poster made by Mahesh Bhatt, which he so proudly displays.I leave it to you to decide who speaks for you. My vote goes to Aditi. This little angel has the spirit of a soldier.The others have mala fide intent.Jai Hind.Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

MNS stages protest outside Karan Johar’s office, 15 arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Within days of issuing an ‘ultimatum’ to Pakistani film artists to leave the country, members of the Raj Thackeray-led MNS staged a protest outside the production house of director-producer Karan Johar in Mumbai on Tuesday, leading to the arrest of around 15 of them by police.The demonstration was held in front of Johar’s Dharma Production office, whose ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ has a special appearance by Pakistani heartthrob Fawad Khan. The MNS has been venting its ire on Pakistani actors and artists in India and also the producers casting them in their projects, following the Uri terror attack, which left 18 soldiers dead.It has also raised a flag against Shah Rukh Khan starrer “Raees” in which Pakistani actress Mahira Khan is playing the female lead. According to Amboli police, around 15 MNS workers were arrested after they began protesting and raising slogans against Pakistani artists in the office premises of Johar at Veera Desai Road in suburban Andheri.They were arrested under Section 68 of Mumbai Police Act. These were preventive arrests and they were liable to be granted bail after warning, said Senior Police Inspector Bharat Gaikwad. Notably, police had served notice to MNS’ Chitrapat Kamgar Sena (Films wing) president Amey Khopkar under section 149 on Sunday after he and party general secretary Shalini Thackeray gave an ultimatum to Pakistani actors and artists to leave the country within 48 hours.Defending the protest, Shalini said her party will not allow the release of Johar’s film. “Karan Johar, who has made the film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, had recently said that Pakistani actors should not be prohibited from working in India. We wish to remind him that Indians see his movies that result in him earning crores of rupees. If he survives on Indians’ money, how can he not respect the feelings of his fellow Indians?,” she said in a statement. “We strongly condemn Karan Johar’s point of view that banning Pakistani actors and artistes would not solve the problem of terrorism. How can he give such an immature and a shallow statement? Our party workers will not allow the release of his film come what may,” Thackeray claimed.The MNS also submitted a letter to Johar’s office, in which it said Bollywood has not taken the issue of terror attacks seriously while allowing Pakistani actors to earn money in the film industry in the name of exchange of culture and art. “You are a well known filmmaker who has crores of fans in the nation. But, you have disrespected the feelings of Indians in the wake of heightened tension between the two nations by openly supporting Pakistani artists. You should not have cast Fawad Khan in your film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’,” the letter stated.”Is there a dearth of talent in our country? If you have true respect for the sacrifice of our soldiers on the border, you would not have supported Pakistani artists,” it said. The letter further warned him and other filmmakers of “dire consequences in MNS style”, if they did not come out and make an open statement of not casting Pakistani artistes in future.MNS had claimed last week that Pakistani actors were hijacking the opportunities of artistes in India. They also said they had dashed off letters to Pakistani actors, whose country is allegedly sponsoring terrorism, to stop their acting business here and quit the country. Mumbai police had, however, given an assurance to the actors.This is not the first time that Pakistani artistes have been threatened in Mumbai. Last year, noted Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali had to cancel his performance in Mumbai after Shiv Sena threatened him.

Banning Pakistani artistes not a solution to terrorism, says Karan Johar

Mumbai: Filmmaker Karan Johar says his heart bleeds for the lives lost in the Uri terror attack and he understands the anger in the country but boycotting artistes from Pakistan is no solution to terrorism.

Johar’s comment comes after MNS threatened Pakistani artistes like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan to leave India, failing which the shooting of their films would be stalled.

Fawad stars in Johar’s upcoming film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which is slated to release this Diwali.

Karan Johar. AFPKaran Johar. AFP

Karan Johar. AFP

“I understand the anger and the anguish that surround us and I empathise, my heart bleeds for the lost lives. There is nothing that can justify this terrible feeling of terror. Then you are faced in a situation such as this (asking for ban on Pak artistes). If this was truly a solution, one would take it,” the director told a news channel.

“But this is not a solution. I don’t believe it is. The larger forces have to come together and sort the situation and this cannot be banning talent or art.”

The 44-year-old filmmaker said he feels “vulnerable”, while speaking about it publicly.

“I feel vulnerable and scared while even saying this. I completely feel the pain and anger. If my film is targeted because of this, it will make me exceptionally sad because my intent was to put out a product out of love and nothing else.”

When asked how he will deal with these threats, Johar said, “I don’t know… I beseech everyone to look at it holistically and understand the situation, that there is a larger situation here and it has nothing to do with banning talent. Let’s look at it from a larger perspective and find the answer.”

The director said sometimes creative people feel so frustrated that they just want to “fold hands and say ‘leave us alone’.”

“I am not somebody who can find the answer. I am nobody in that scheme of things. I am just a filmmaker, telling a love story. Today I feel, I am a vulnerable soft target. I have faced it, felt the repercussions of it in the past and I have constantly combated that.

“Sometimes, you just want to fold your hands and say, ‘We are creative industry. Please leave us alone. We make movies, we spread love. There are millions in the world, in ourcountry who are happy with the work we do, allow us that…’ I think we should not be those soft targets anymore. We don’t matter in the scheme of things but we can make things happier and better,” he said.

Kate Middleton adds desi twist to her dress at Bollywood gala dinner

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was grace and elegance personified as she dazzled at the Bollywood gala dinner in Mumbai draped in a classic blue evening gown whose beading was done in India.The dress was designed by one of Middleton’s favourite British designers Jenny Packham. The Duchess is a big fan of Packham and has worn her designs for many prestigious events. She accessorised the full length gown with a sheer shawl in a matching blue with sparkling beading to match and a clutch in the same shade.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kate and her husband Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, met several Bollywood celebrities including Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Alia Bhatt, Sonam Kapoor to name a few on the red carpet.Bollywood personalities were at their sartorial best at the glittering function. Aishwarya looked gorgeous in a gold saree, while Shah Rukh appeared dapper in a white tuxedo. Madhuri Dixit Nene, who came with her husband Sriram Nene, also opted for a traditional look.Sonam, who is considered Bollywood’s fashionista, looked radiant in Elli Saab couture. Alia cut a pretty picture in an off-shoulder dress. Actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, who was wearing a black suit, looked handsome with the man-bun. (See more pictures from the event here.)Actress Jacqueline Fernandez looked stunning in an elaborate red evening gown, while filmmaker Karan Johar wore an all-black suit.

Burning autos for Marathi pride? MNS boss Raj Thackeray’s sermons on how to scare non-Maharashtrians

Raj Thackeray has once again demonstrated how proud he is of being a Maharashtrian. Addressing a rally on Wednesday, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief called on his followers to burn those autorickshaws that belong to non-Maharashtrians, even if the licences are in order. This is not the first time he has made a statement against people from outside the state. Here’s a list of the things that previously rubbed him the wrong way:

In response to Jaya Bachchan saying, “Hum UP (Uttar Pradesh) ke log hain, isliye Hindi mein baat karenge, Maharashtra ke log maaf kijiye (We are from UP, so we will speak in Hindi; Maharashtrians, please forgive us) at a promotional event for the Abhishek Bachchan-starrer Drona.

4_AFP (1)4_AFP (1)

In response to news reports in 2012 that a Bihari youth had vandalised the Amar Jawan memorial during the Azad Maidan protests.

3_AFP (1)3_AFP (1)

On Mumbai being referred to as Bombay multiple times in Wake Up Sid


On finding out that a member of the Jain community had distributed aam ras and puri to several households to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mahavir’s statue being brought to Mumbai

2_AFP (2)2_AFP (2)

On defeating the influx of North Indians into Mumbai

1_AFP (3)1_AFP (3)

Tough country to speak about personal life: Karan Johar weighs in on intolerance debate

Jaipur: Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar on Thursday said that India is a “tough country” where speaking about personal life can land people behind the bars and he did not want to fight the “governance” by talking of issues like “intolerance”.

“We are in a tough country and to speak about one’s personal life in today’s time can land you in jail,” the director-producer said at the ninth edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

He was in conversation with author Shobaa De and his biographer Poonam Saxena on his upcoming biography An Unsuitable Boy.

Johar, who has made films on contentious issues such as homosexuality (Dostana) and relationships outside wedlock (Kabhi Alvida Na Kehana), said as a filmmaker he felt bound at every level.

“I feel bound on every level, be it what I put out on the celluloid or what I say in print. I feel like there is always some kind of a legal notice awaiting me everywhere I go.”

“I’ve become some kind of an FIR king,” Johar said referring to the controversy over the AIB roast, staged in Mumbai last year which involved the western concept of insult comedy.

The Bombay High Court recently asked Mumbai Police not to file charge sheet against the filmmaker and others facing a criminal case for allegedly using obscene language on the show.

File photo of Karan Johar. AFPFile photo of Karan Johar. AFP

File photo of Karan Johar. AFP

Johar said he did not want to fight the “governance” by speaking out on “intolerance” like his colleagues in Bollywood industry did last year.

“Look what happened as a result of anyone who said anything on it. I make movies, I’m fighting megalomaniac movie stars everyday. Do I need to fight the governance?

“We’re fighting the censor with every film. You write anything, you can’t say anything. How are we democratic then?” he posed.

Talking about section 377 of the Indian penal code, which criminalises same sex relationships, Johar said “it’s a hurdle we need to combat.”

He also said he appreciated endeavours made by politicians like Shashi Tharoor who had brought up the bill in the last Parliament session.

“You can change the way the governance works, but how do you change the sensibility of the average man in the house, it doesn’t matter what bill you pass and what dharna you do until the DNA or the mental fabric (of society) changes,” the 43-year-old said.

Johar also said he doesn’t “judge” people who don’t come out about their sexuality.

The director who has made blockbusters such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hain, and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, among others shared an anecdote when he tried to pull a prank on a friend who he thought secretly stocked beef.

“We set up two policemen to go and arrest him … And it was a successful prank. That guy was horrified,” said Johar adding that the incident could have turned serious had it not been a joke.

Meanwhile, other topics in the conversation included Johar’s secluded childhood in South Bombay to his family’s hard times, his obsessions with film songs and the importance of following your dreams.

You can watch the video here (from the one-minute mark)


dna morning must reads: From J&K government formation to Tennis match-fixing allegations

1. PDP hints at forming government with BJP, but no timeline setHinting at continuing its alliance with the BJP, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday authorised its president Mehbooba Mufti to take the final call over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Here’s what Uber CEO Travis Kalanick thinks about Indian start-up ecosystemCompetition and the drive to serve customers better gives sleepless nights to Travis Kalanick, co-founder and chief executive of one of the world’s most valuable start-ups, Uber.The young billionaire is also impressed by the innovation and creativity coming from the Indian startup ecosystem. Read more here3. Tennis match-fixing: Leaked documents point to possible involvement of Grand Slam winnersWidespread suspected match-fixing exists at the top level of world tennis, including at Wimbledon, according to secret files obtained by the BBC and online BuzzFeed News. Read more here4. Big B opens up about why he won’t romance younger heroines in films anymoreTides are turning in the industry. At a time when 50-year-old heroes are romancing heroines half their age, Karan Johar and R Balki are bringing much-needed change — Ki And Ka and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil — both films having younger actors romancing actresses older to them. Read more here5. Detachable plane invented to save lives during plane crashesA Ukranian engineer has come up with the design of an aircraft with a detachable cabin which can be ejected at any time including during in-flight emergency situations and allow passengers to land safely even on water, according to a media report. Read more here