New Delhi: Release of his blockbuster Pakistani film ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ in India would be a ‘great way to handshake’ if it were to happen, kind of like the sweets sent to each other in good times and on Eid and Diwali, says actor Fawad Khan. Khan’s comments come days after the film was pulled from its planned December 30 release in India.
Directed by Bilal Lashari and also starring Mahira Khan, “The Legend of Maula Jatt” is inspired by the 1979 cult classic “Maula Jatt”. The film, which released in Pakistan on October 13, is the highest-grossing Pakistani film of all time with box office returns of USD 10 million. Fawad was asked about his views on the film’s release in India in an interview with CNN.
“That would be great, obviously. If it were to happen, it’s a great way to handshake. It is kind of like those sweets and delights we send across to one another in good times and on Eid and Diwali,” the 41-year-old the old actor said during the interview, a video of which he shared on his official Instagram page. He added that he prefers to wait and watch as “things are a bit heated still” between India and Pakistan.
“Films and music is that kind of an exchange, which would be great for the diplomacy between the two countries. But things are a bit heated still, so let’s see. I’ve heard it may release but also that it may not. So let us see,” he said.
An INOX official said last week that the film’s release in India had been postponed. “We have been informed by the distributors that the release of the film has been postponed. We were told this two-three days ago. No further date has been shared with us,” an official from the multiplex chain told PTI.
An industry insider had said the film’s release was stalled due to resistance from certain sections of the society. “Zee Studios had acquired the rights of ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ as they were expecting the film to do well. But due to resistance from certain sections, the decision was made not to release the movie,” he told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
At the time, Ameya Khopkar, president of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) cinema wing, had tweeted that the film’s release was stalled after a warning by the party.
“… The screening of ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ has been completely cancelled…,” he had said. Multiplex chain PVR Cinemas had shared the India release date of the film on its official Instagram page earlier this week but deleted it soon after.
Mahira and Fawad are familiar to Indian audiences through their popular Pakistani drama ‘Humsafar’ and also through Bollywood — Fawad, who was most recently seen in the superhero series ‘Ms Marvel’, has featured in ‘Khoobsurat’, ‘Kapoor & Sons’ , and ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ while Mahira appeared in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Raees’.
The last Pakistani film to get a theatrical release in India was ‘Bol’ starring Mahira in 2011. Before that was ‘Ramchand Pakistani’ starring Nandita Das and Rashid Farooqi in 2008. ‘Khuda Kay Liye’, which included Fawad in the ensemble cast alongside Naseeruddin Shah came in 2007.
Pakistani actors stopped being cast in Indian productions following the 2016 terror attack in Uri in which 19 Indian Army personnel were killed. The decision came amid demands by various political outfits to ban Pakistani artistes from Indian films and from performing here.