Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar has finally opened up on the controversy surrounding his next film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM) and says he is deeply hurt and pained by the charge of him being anti-national.
The growing tensions between India and Pakistan over the recent terror attack, which killed 19 Indian Army soldiers, led to a demand on banning Pakistani artistes from working in India. The activists of MNS sat on dharna in front of Karan Johar's office and demanded a ban on the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The owners of single screens decided not to screen the film in four states in the country.
When so much was happening against Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Karan Johar chose to remain silent, which surprised many across the country. Finally, the filmmaker broke his silence in an emotional video statement released to media. He says that he was silent because he was hurt and pained by the charge of being anti-national.
"There's been some talk about why I remained silent for the past two weeks. Today, I would like to clarify the reason why I remained silent. It's because of the deep sense of hurt and the deep sense of pain I felt. There are few people who actually believe that I am being anti-national," Karan Johar is seen saying in the video.
Karan Johar denied the charge of being anti-national, saying that he has always spread love through his films in the country. "I need to say this and I will say this with strength. For me, my country comes first. Nothing else matters to me but my country. I have always tried to express patriotism, which is what I have tried to do through my cinema," the filmmaker adds.
The filmmaker says the things were different, when he shot the movie. "When I shot my film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in September to December last year, the climate was completely different and circumstances were completely different. There were efforts made by our government for peaceful relationships with the neighbouring countries," he says.
Karan Johar says he respects the Central government's effort to make peace with neighbouring country. "I respect those endeavours and efforts. I respect the sentiments today and I understand the sentiments because I feel the same. Going forward, I would like to say of course I will not engage with the talents from the neighbouring countries given the circumstance," he adds.
Karan Johar says that over 300 Indians have put in lot of effort in the making of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and they should not become the victims of the current tensions between India and Pakistan. Meanwhile, the filmmaker assured that he would not work with artistes from the neighbouring country in any of his upcoming films.
"But with the same energy I beseech you to know one thing. There are over 300 Indian people in my crew, who have put their blood into my film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. I don't think it is fair for them to face any kind of turbulence. I respect Indian Army. I salute Indian Army for everything they do to protect us in any environment. I respect them with all my heart," he says.
"I say I condemn any form of terrorism and especially the kind of terrorism that affects my people in my country and me. I hope all of you would understand the exact circumstances and situation that we are in and accept the fact that we love our country over and above everything else," Karan Johar concludes.