The ban on Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil again goes on to prove that we as a democracy have failed to protect our artistes. The right of to freedom of speech and expression seems to be just there on paper. Increasingly, our artistes face an unacceptable form of terrorism – not from Pakistan but from our own politicians and administration.

The Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) has decided that no films starring any Pakistani actors will be released in theatres. In a statement as quoted by The Times of India, Nitin Datar, President of the COEAI, said, “Keeping in mind the patriotic feeling and the national interest in mind, we request all our member exhibitors to refrain from screening movies which have involvement of any Pakistani artists, technicians, directors, music directors, etc.

Till the relation between India and Pakistan becomes normal, no films with Pakistani actors can be released.” No film can be stopped on such a flimsy ground that it has a Pakistani stars. There is just one Pakistani actor, the much loved Fawad Khan in the film. That too, he appears for a very brief period in the film. But even if for a second we were to take into consideration the patriotic feelings of the association, how can we ignore the fact the fate of many Indians hangs on the film.

Censor Board Chief Pahlaj Nihalani has said that once the film has been certified, nothing can stop it from running in the theaters. However, we have time and again seen how films are stalled even after clearance from Censor Board. Be it hurting of religious statement or the lead actor making some controversial statement, films have been stopped for the most ridiculous reasons. It’s high time artistes are given some ammunition to fight this kind of internal terrorism as such hindrances leads to huge commercial loss and shows us as a country in a very bad light.