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The Shiv Sena, a junior partner in a ruling coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Maharashtra state government, India, have plans to disrupt movies with Pakistani casts.
Shiv Sena's recent violent protests against Pakistani artists seems to have jeopardized the promotions of two films - 'Raees' directed by Rahul Dholakia starring Bollywood heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan and filmmaker Karan Johar's 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Senior Shiv Sena leaders vow not to let the Pakistani actors in the film - Mahira Khan ('Raees') and Fawad Khan ('Ae Dil Hai Mushkil') - promote the film in Maharashtra of which Mumbai is the capital city.
Fawad, who made his Bollywood debut with the 2014 film 'Khoobsurat', has more Hindi films in his kitty including Dharma Productions' 'Kapoor & Sons' along with 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil'.
On the other hand, Mahira is set to make her Bollywood debut with 'Raees'
Film promotions in Mumbai are sacrosanct for a film's success these days with the entire international media looking for Bollywood content from this entertainment capital of India.
Earlier, Shah Rukh and the Shiv Sena have been at loggerheads over several civic issues and over certain comments made by the actor.
And it does seem that the far-right group is all set to spoil the party for the actor once again.
"We have taken a stand not to allow any Pakistani actor, cricketer or performer to step on Maharashtra soil," says Akshay Bardapurkar, general Secretary of the Shiv Sena Chitrapat Sena, the film wing of the Shiv Sena.
Bardapurkar had earlier prevented Pakistani legend and singer Ghulam Ali from performing in Mumbai a few days ago and got his concert cancelled.
Sena activists also stormed the Mumbai offices of India's cricket board on Monday to disrupt planned talks on resuming matches against Pakistan.
This followed International Cricket Council (ICC) announcement on Monday that it has withdrawn Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar from the one-day games in India following activists' attacks to disrupt talks between officials of the two countries.
India and Pakistan have been arch-rivals since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, and have fought three wars.
Relations between the two countries have strained since the start of the year, with regular ceasefire violations on the disputed Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir valley.
That led to the cancellation of talks between the security advisers of both countries in August.
"We are not really bothered about who is signing these Pakistanis in their film. Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar, Shah Rukh Khan etc are responsible citizens and they should not cast Pakistanis in their film," says Bardapurkar.
'Raees' is directed by Rahul Dholakia and also stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays the role of a cop to Shah Rukh's character of a bootlegger who goes on to become a liquor baron.
The film is slated for an Eid release in 2016.
'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' directed by Karan Johar also stars youth icon Ranbir Kapoor along with Anushka Sharma and Fawad Khan. The film is slated for a Diwali release in 2016.
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