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Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Raees in trouble as exhibitors mull ban on films with Pakistani artistes

The Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) plan to meet on 7 October to discuss whether the ban on Pakistani artistes should also be applied to the films they star in. 

Shriram Iyengar

Just a week after the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) imposed a ban on hiring Pakistani artistes from working in Indian films, a major part of the industry is mulling on extending the ban to the films starring these artistes. A recent report suggests that the Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) plans to impose a ban on films starring Pakistani artistes. This decision is set to impact major films like Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees which will release later this year. 

The members of the association plan to meet on 7 October to discuss the viability of this proposal. The Times of India quoted Nitin Datar, president of COEAI, saying "The members will be meeting on Friday and we'll decide on the matter. But one thing is for certain — the decision will be taken keeping the wishes and the sentiment of the public. We won't go against them." 

Last week, the IMPPA had announced a ban preventing Pakistani artistes from working in Indian films till the tension between the two countries eases up. However, Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, as well as Rahul Dholakia's Raees, have been in production for a long time. Johar's film is set to release on 28 October. To announce a ban on these films would have an adverse affect on the industry, as well as distributor revenue.

Speaking about this issue, Datar said, "I can't talk about specifics but many factors have to be taken into consideration. See, many exhibitors have already signed the deal with the distributors. So if we decide on a ban, they may even face legal charges from distributors. We need to figure this out."

This meeting might determine the fate of some really big blockbusters this year.