Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has assured MNS chief Raj Thackeray that Pakistani actress Mahira Khan will not promote the upcoming release of "Raees" in India, a party leader said on Monday, adding it will now not oppose the screening of the film but a fresh political row erupted over the issue.
Shah Rukh on Sunday called on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray ahead of the release of his film "Raees", which features the Pakistani actress."Khan told us that the actress is not going to be in Mumbai for promotion. There will be no more Pakistani actors who would be made part of his movies. We find it suitable and decided not to oppose the release of the movie," MNS Chitrapat Karmachari Sena chief Amey Khopkar said.
"We had already made clear our stand that Pakistani artistes should not be part of Bollywood movies. Shah Rukh Khan approached Raj Thackeray and clarified that the Pakistani actor is not coming to India for the movie promotion," Khopkar further said.
The issue of Pakistani artistes had created a storm earlier this year when MNS objected to casting of actors from the neighbouring country in Bollywood movies after the Uri terror attack. In October, the party had staged high-voltage protests against the release of Karan Johar's "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" for featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. But, they later withdrew it after assurances from the film fraternity following 'mediation' by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
SRK had previously run into trouble for the release of "My Name is Khan" in 2010, with Shiv Sena. Opposition Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP) and NCP dubbed Shah Rukh meeting Raj to ensure smooth release of his film as "shameful" and unfortunate and accused the BJP-led Government in Maharashtra of giving "state protection" to the latter.
The SP said the Devendra Fadnavis-led ruling coalition has allowed MNS to run a "parallel government" by giving it undue importance. "It is a matter of shame for the Fadnavis Government that Shah Rukh had to go at Thackeray's door to ensure smooth release of his film. This shows the present government has no spine," State SP President Abu Asim Azmi said, referring to Shah Rukh's visit to the MNS chief's residence.
MNS has now officially become a "settlement" party, he said, mocking the Raj-led outfit.