An iconic Pakistani film that featured Indian artistes has been dropped from the programme of the MAMI festival that starts in Mumbai this week, after a group threatened to disrupt the screening in the middle of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan after the Uri terror attack in which 19 soldiers were killed.
Organisers of the MAMI or Mumbai Academy of Moving Image festival said on Monday that they would not show the 1959 classic “Jago Hua Savera” (The Day Shall Dawn) following a complaint from an Indian NGO called Sangharsh.
The film, co-produced before the creation of a separate Bangladesh, was Pakistan’s official entry for the Oscars in 1960. The black-and-white film depicts life in a small fishing village where everyone dreams of owning their own boat. Shot in Dhaka, it starred Bengali theatre actor Tripti Mitra.
Sangharsh says it is inappropriate to show the film at present.
“Given the current situation, the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star has decided not to programme ‘Jago Hua Savera’ as part of the Restored Classics Section,” organisers of the festival said in a statement.
The move comes after a group of Indian cinemas said last week that they would not screen any films featuring Pakistani artists in protest against the Uri attack. The decision by the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association (COEA) applies to single screen cinemas in four states and is likely to affect the release of movies “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, “Dear Zindagi” and “Raees”.
Some groups have demanded that Pakistani actor Fawad Khan be dropped from “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, Karan Johar’s big ticket romantic drama. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena of Raj Thackeray has threatened to stall the October 28 release of the movie.
India blames Pakistan for the Uri attack on September 18 which saw the Indian army respond with “surgical strikes” targeting terror staging areas in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association, which represents a number of Hindi film industry employees, passed a motion recently banning Pakistani artists until relations between New Delhi and Islamabad improve.