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Mahira Khan will be here for Raees promotions if needed: Ritesh Sidhwani 

The producer reassured the media that the Pakistani actress continues to remain a big part of the Raees team, and will be called to promote the film, if necessary. 


Keyur Seta

While Shah Rukh Khan made a personal appearance, albeit virtual, to interact with fans on the occasion of Raees' trailer launch, the film's leading lady Mahira Khan was conspicuous by her absence. The Pakistani actress plays the lead opposite Shah Rukh, and undoubtedly, her absence brought back the shadow of the anti-Pakistani artiste controversy that erupted a few months ago. 

Producer Ritesh Sidhwani though, assured that she is still a big part of the film. He said, "When we start promoting the film, if we find it necessary to bring her here and involve her with the promotions, of course she will come. I don't think there is any restriction for her from the government to come. It is not that they have stopped issuing visas to anybody. I think as and when we do decide and if we want her, we will bring her here." 

The absence of the Pakistani actress is understandable. Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was almost banned from theatres after political parties, namely the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, objected to the presence of Pakistani actor, Fawad Khan in Johar's film. Incidentally, Farhan Akhtar, Sidhwani's partner at Excel Entertainment, had objected to the controversy saying, "There are so many people like us here today who also exist in our neighbouring countries, who want peace, who want open trade cultural exchange. Let's focus on pleasing them, empowering them. Let's allow them to also speak out in their society and I think that's the decision that needs to be taken." 

Even though there were rumours that Mahira's role in the film might see a substantial cut, the trailer shows no sign of it. For now, though the actress has returned to her homeland and back to her work, she remains a big part of the Raees team.

Raees is directed by Rahul Dholakia, and stars Shah Rukh, Mahira, Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The film will arrive in theatres on 25 January 2017.