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Shah Rukh not worried about Shiv Sena’s threat to block Raees release

The Chhattisgarh unit of the party has threatened of dire consequences if the film is released in the state. 

Keyur Seta

Director Rahul Dholakia’s Raees came under serious fire last year after Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) threatened to stall the film’s release as it stars Pakistani actress Mahira Khan. There was severe opposition against artists from across the border working in Indian films following the Uri attack in Jammu & Kashmir in October last year. Raees is scheduled to be released on 25 January.

But a fresh controversy erupted a few days ago when the Chhattisgarh unit of Shiv Sena threatened film distributor Akshaye Rathi of dire consequences if Raees is released in the city of Durg. They sent a letter which concluded with, “We will warn exhibitors of Durg to not showcase the film of this anti-national. If the film is shown in any of the cinema halls on 25 January, the exhibitors would be responsible for the consequences.”

Rathi took to Twitter, uploaded pictures of the letter and tagged Aditya Thackeray, chairperson of Shiv Sena, asking him whether he endorses the stand taken by their Chhattisgarh unit. He wrote, “Dear @AUThackeray, We have received this threat letter from your Chhattisgarh unit against playing @iamsrk's #Raees. Do you endorse it?” He later sent an appeal saying, “Request all @iamsrk fans to help me bring this to the notice of @AUThackeray. I'm sure he will take action against this nuisance. #Raees.” 

He then took the matter to the chief minister of Chhattisgarh, Dr Raman Singh and Member of Parliament, Abhishek Singh. He wrote to them, “Dear @drramansingh ji & @CGAbhishekSingh, Please look into this to let law & order prevail in #Chhattisgarh. #Raees @ChhattisgarhCMO.” 

Later on, however, Rathi softened his stand on Shiv Sena through his next tweet that read, “Wrong to blame @AUThackeray or the #ShivSena for the #Raees issue. If they wanted to oppose, they'd do it in their stronghold — Maharashtra.” He followed it up with, “I am sure it's only some loose cannons from #ShivSena's Chhattisgarh wing that are firing away & need to be disciplined. @AUThackeray #Raees.” 

During the Dabboo Ratnani calendar launch, Khan was asked his take on the matter. The Fan actor said he wasn't aware of the matter. But he soon said, “If such a thing happens, I am sure Ritesh (Sidhwani), Excel (Entertainment) and Red Chillies are looking into it.” He later said, “I don’t think it will be of concern. We will be able to sort it out.” 

There hasn’t been any response or reaction on the matter from Thackeray or Shiv Sena’s Mumbai unit.