End of Bollywood for Pak artists?

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By HT

New Delhi, Oct. 1 -- The growing political tension between India and Pakistan has spilled over to Bollywood now.

According to sources, after the Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association's (IMPPA) decision to ban Pakistani artists and technicians, actor Shah Rukh Khan has reportedly postponed the release of his film Raees, starring Pakistani actor Mahira Khan, which was slated for a January 2017 release.

"After the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) asked all Pakistani actors to return to their country in the wake of the Uri attacks, the makers are now worried this development can severely affect the business of the film," says the insider.

TP Aggarwal, president of IMPPA says, "We have passed a resolution that people who have already made the film won't be affected by this. If the producers have completed the film, they can release it, but if the film is not made and they are in the position to change the actors, then they should do that."

Besides Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which stars actor Fawad Khan, filmmaker Gauri Shinde's upcoming Dear Zindagi, with Ali Zafar in a supporting role and Rahul Dholakia's Raees with Mahira could be affected because of the growing public sentiment against Pak actors.

There were rumours that actor Ajay Devgn's upcoming film Shivaay has a Pakistani artist, but his team has been quick to issue a clarification. "There are media reports that Pakistani actress Saba Qamar is making her debut with Shivaay. We would like to clarify that actress Saba Qamar or any other Pakistani actor is not a part of Shivaay," the film's publicist said.

Talking about if films will be affected, trade analyst Komal Nahta says, "Raees and Dear Zindagi are 95% complete, so I don't think they will be affected."

Film distributor Sanjay Ghai says the loss for Bollywood will be visible after the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, in October.

"Even if footfalls are not affected, emotionally charged people may cause damage to theatres. While the film can be released, the success of the film will be affected in the current situation," says Ghai.