Farhan Akhtar criticises CM Fadnavis; questions selective targeting of film industry

The Rock On! actor also believes India should stop trade ties with Pakistan instead of just targeting the film industry.

Keyur Seta

While a lot of Hindi film celebrities have kept mum over the manner in which Devendra Fadnavis, the chief minister of Maharashtra, solved the controversy related to Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Farhan Akhtar has openly lashed out against the entire episode. 

To ensure smooth release of ADHM, the CM played mediator between Raj Thackeray, whose party had vowed not to let the film release since it stars a Pakistani actor, and Johar. The outcome of the meeting was that Thackeray pulled back the protest against the film provided the producers donate Rs5 crore to the Indian Army. Later on, however, senior officers of the Indian Army rejected MNS’ way of ‘extortion.’ 

During a media interaction, Farhan condemned the incident and criticised Fadnavis' act. He said, “The only word, I think, that comes to mind is unfortunate because it has set a terrible precedent.” 

He also categorically criticised the CM for entertaining those who threaten violence. He added, “It’s not even the government telling you what you should be doing and not doing. So who are you listening to? You are listening to the people who are threatening you with violence. Now, when you have the threat of violence, it’s not only about you. You have kids at home, you have a family. Why do you want to subject them to that? At the end of the day, it’s really unfortunate that this is the state of affairs.” 

Defending Johar’s decision of casting a Pakistani actor, Fawad Khan, Akhtar stated that it wasn’t right to target the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai filmmaker and the film industry at large. He also pointed out that the film was shot when Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, had visited Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, to ensure friendly relations between both countries. 

“People were encouraging exchange, our Prime Minister travelled there. It was an air, an environment of optimism, an environment of wanting bridges to be made. That’s the environment you started functioning in. Now, if that’s changed, you cannot hold this person (Johar) by his throat and say that what you have done is wrong, and force you to say things and force you to pay money.” 

There are voices demanding a complete ban on trade relations between India and Pakistan as they feel it is unfair to target the film industry alone. Akhtar echoed the same sentiments. “By all means pass a law. If you pass a law, you are representing the voice of the people. We’ve elected you to do it, so by all means pass a law. But don’t hold that standard only for the film industry. Why only the film industry? Because we are easy targets. Why don’t you stop business between India and Pakistan, this two billion dollars of business that happens every single year. Stop it, go the whole hog. This is like window dressing.”