A little-known right-wing group called Rashtra Sena has called for India-wide ban on Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Raees, over comments that were reportedly made even before SRK's film Dilwale. Meanwhile, the film is facing protests in several places, and even the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Gujarat Shiv Sena have supported the ban call.
Posters across Gujarat
Rashtra Sena has put up posters in Ahmedabad, Anand, Baroda, Rajkot, Surat and other places across Gujarat urging people to boycott Raees. The outfit's founder and president Vinod Jain told International Business Times, India, that this was because Shah Rukh Khan had said that India was an intolerant country.
"He makes films in India, earns from India and then abuses India. Let him make a film in Pakistan, abuse Pakistan and we shall see if he gets to come back alive," Jain told IBTimes India. He, however, declined to divulge any plans of further protests against King Khan, explaining that they had done that when SRK-starrer Dilwale had been released in 2015, but police had anticipated problems and detained them.
Support from VHP and Shiv Sena
Rashtra Sena's calls for ban on Raees has also received support from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Gujarat unit of the Shiv Sena. VHP leader Ranchhod Bharwad was quoted by PTI as saying on Wednesday: "India had so many great personalities on whom you can make a movie. But Khan chose Abdul Latif, who was a dreaded criminal, bootlegger and a mafia don. Khan claimed the movie is based on fictional character but everyone knows that Raees is based on Latif."
Shiv Sena leader Ashok Sharma, supporting the ban call, told PTI: "Instead of highlighting police officers who tamed Latif, the makers have projected Dawood Ibrahim's aide Latif as a hero of the masses."
Protests in Mumbai
Meanwhile, Mahira Khan seemed to be the targets of a protest in Mumbai, where three activists of another little-known outfit called Chhatrapati Yuva Front tried to obstruct the exhibition of Raees at Madhuban Cinema in Dombivli (East) at around 1.30 pm. Other members of the fringe outfit were protesting outside at that time.
Their ire was directed at Mahira, who had in a Pakistani talk show in 2011 said: "We should never be inspired by India. We are not Bollywood." The video resurfaced late last year, and went viral by December-end, leading many to speculate that it could dampen the business of Raees.