Karan Johar: I will not engage with talent from neighbouring country

With a threat looming over the release of his latest, the filmmaker breaks his silence, slams those who call him anti-national.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Mayur Lookhar

Even as the Mumbai police has promised security for the screening of his next film, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which is scheduled to be released on 28 October, filmmaker Karan Johar has finally broken his silence on the controversy over casting Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in the film.

Johar posted a video on YouTube, explaining the reasons for casting Khan and declaring that from here on, he will not engage with any talent from across the border. He paid his respects to the Indian army and slammed all those who have been labelling him anti-national.

Here is the full text of Johar’s video:

"There has been some talk about why I remained silent for the past two weeks. Today, I would like to clarify that the reason why I have remained silent is because of the deep sense of hurt and the deep sense of pain that I have felt when I saw that a few people could actually believe that I am being anti-national. I need to say this and I say this with strength – for me, my country comes first. Nothing else matters to me but my country.

"I have always felt that the best way to express your patriotism is through love. And that's what I have always tried to portray through my work and my cinema. When I shot my film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil from September to December last year, the climate was completely different. The circumstances were completely different. There were efforts made by our government for a peaceful relationship with the neighbouring country. And I respected those endeavours, those efforts, then. I also respect the sentiment today. I understand the sentiment because I feel the same.

"Going forward, I would like to say that of course I will not engage with talent from the neighbouring country, given the circumstance. But with that same energy, I beseech you to know one thing – that over 300 people in my Indian crew have put their blood, sweat and tears into making my film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. I don't think it's fair to them to face any kind of turbulence on account of other fellow Indians. I respect the Indian army. I salute them for everything they do to protect us in our environment. I respect them with all my heart. And I say that I condemn any form of terrorism, specially the terrorism that will affect the people of my country and me. I just hope all of you understand exactly the circumstance that we are in and respect the fact that we love and respect our country over and above anything else."

Watch the video here: