Amid veiled threat by MNS of vandalism at multiplexes if Karan Johar's "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" is screened, the producers on Tuesday sought police protection for the theatres, even as the party stuck to its stand to resist the screening since it features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.
A team from Johar's Dharma Productions along with filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt and Vijay Singh of Fox Star Studios met Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar and Joint Police Commissioner (law and order) Deven Bharti, and sought protection for the theatres to screen the film, releasing on October 28.
Assuring all help from their end, Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe said, "Mumbai police will provide adequate protection to cinema theatres as and when required."
The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena said on Monday that it would intensify its opposition to Johar's film as it features Fawad. They issued a veiled threat of vandalism to the multiplexes if they screened it.
The opposition by MNS and some other political parties to films with actors from Pakistan after the Uri terror attack has put a question mark on the fate of Johar's directorial venture.
"We will oppose the screening of the movie everywhere in the state. If any multiplex operator dares to screen the film, they (operators) should remember that multiplexes are decorated with expensive glass sheets," MNS leader Amey Khopkar had said yesterday.
Sticking to their stand, Khopkar said today, "We will break glasses of film theatres screening the film."
Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena executive president Shalini Thackeray said, "The producers can get protection for the movie screening, but are they prepared for the outrage of the audience once they see a Pakistani actor on the screen.
"I still do not understand, why these producers fail to understand the sentiments of the society," she said.
Meanwhile, Mukesh Bhatt said, "I disagree with MNS at times and they disagree with us at times. But at the end of the day, we are like brothers. I can only appeal to my brothers to go on in peace."
"Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" stars Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma in lead roles while Fawad, whose casting has been at the center of the controversy, is in an extended cameo.
Meanwhile, BJP activists on Tuesday held demonstrations at Kalyan in neighbouring Thane district condemning filmmaker Anurag Kashyap's remarks on Twitter wherein he dragged Prime Minister Narendra Modi into the row over casting Pakistani actors.
Hundreds of BJP activists, including those from Yuva Morcha, shouted slogans against Kashyap and also hurled slippers on his photographs in Kalyan.
Many women participated in the protest held at Teesgaon Naka which lasted for about an hour. The protesters also indulged in sloganeering against Pakistan.
Kashyap, had recently said in his tweets why should only Indian filmmakers be targeted for casting Pakistani actors when the PM also made a trip to Lahore last year.
"@narendramodi Sir you haven't yet said sorry for your trip to meet the Pakistani PM... It was dec 25th. Same time KJo was shooting ADHM? Why? @narendramodi why is it that we have to face it while you can be silent?" the director had written to show support to Johar's "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil".
Kashyap was trolled on Twitter and was criticised by some film industry members for his comments.
In the aftermath of the Uri terror attack last month in which 19 Indian jawans were killed, the MNS issued an ultimatum to Pakistani artistes to leave India. They also threatened to stop the screening of films featuring artistes from Pakistan.
Subsequently, Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association passed a motion to ban the artistes from the neighbouring country.
The Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India recently decided not to screen the films with Pakistani actors in four states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa.