Top Bollywood director Karan Johar has finally broken his silence regarding the highly heated issue of Bollywood and Pakistan. After the Kashmir aftermath, a slew of nationalists called out Pakistan for banning Bollywood movies despite Pakistani actors finding success and big bucks in Bollywood.
It has led to dozens calling for the banning of Pakistani actors in Hindi cinema, something multiple directors and casters have been forced to adhere to in order to please the public’s furor. Top dog Karan Johar has kept quiet on the issue- his Diwali feature Ae Dil Hai Mushkil features controversial Pakistani Fawad Khan- but has finally admitted he will be sticking to the ban as well. As for why he kept quiet for so long, he says it was out of a “deep sense of hurt and…pain that I felt because a few people actually felt that I am anti-national.”
Johar, 44, says in his statement:
“I need to say this and say this with strength that my country comes first. I have always felt that the best way to express your patriotism is to spread love and that’s all I have ever tried to do through my work and cinema. When I shot my film, ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ in September to December last year, the climate was completely different, the circumstances were completely different. There were efforts made by our government for peaceful relations with the neighbouring country and I respected those efforts then.
I respect and understand the sentiments today as well. I understand the sentiments because I feel the same. Going forward, I would like to say that of course I would not engage with talent from our neighbouring countries given the circumstance. But with that same energy, I would want you to know that over 300 Indian people in my crew have put their blood, sweat and tears in my film and I don’t think it is fair to them to face any sort of turbulence.
I respect the Indian army, I salute the Indian army for everything they do to protect us. I respect them with all my heart and I say I condemn any form of terrorism and especially the terrorism that possess threat to the people in my country and me. I just hope all of you understand the situation we are in and respect the fact that we love and respect our country over and above anything else.”