Film exhibitors in West Bengal today termed the decision by a cinema owners' body not to screen movies starring Pakistani artistes in four states as "unfair" as it would have an adverse impact on the financial health of production houses. West Bengal exhibitors, however, said that they are "Ok" with the decision if it prohibits screening of films in future which has Pakistani artistes. The Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI), that mainly covers single screen theatres, decided not to show films involving Pakistani artistes or technicians in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa keeping in mind "patriotic feelings" of the people in mind. "I think this decision is unfair. If you stop completed films, it will impact the finances of the production house and the producer," Arijit Dutta, the owner of Priya Cinemas and Bioscope multiplex, told PTI. "However, if it is decided that henceforth movies with Pakistani artistes will not be screened, its absolutely fine.
Then the producers will not cast Pakistani artistes in their films," Dutta, who is also an actor, said. His views were echoed by owners of single screens in Kolkata, who felt that not screening completed films like "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" will hit the business of single screens in this festive season. The COEAI decision dealt a blow to "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil," a Karan Johar film featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan to be released during Diwali. "This is a festive season which will continue till new year. So if you put a ban on big banner movies at this part of the year, single screen theatres will face financial crunch," an owner of three single screen theatres in an around Kolkata, said. Pankaj Ladia, senior regional manager, movie programming and distribution at Inox Leisure Ltd, declined to comment saying he was not aware of any such decision. Veteran actor and Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner Soumitra Chatterjee too opposed such decisions and said it will not serve any purpose.
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