Raj Thackeray’s party MNS won’t allow the screening of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in Mumbai Multiplexes. The party members have threatened to cause damage to the theatres if they went ahead with the screening of the film. Earlier,  MNS had threatened to physically assault Karan Johar for casting a Pakistani actor in his film.

On the face of it,  it seems as if patriotism is driving them to issue such threats. While no violence can be justified, a cursory look into MNS’ political history will reveal how it uses violence to  instill  fear among people for political gain.  The party’s hatred is just not directed at Pakistan and Pakistanis. They have run hate campaigns against their own country-men from Bihar and UP.

Burning down rickshaws belonging to migrants, not allowing kids of North Indian parents admission in Mumbai schools, attacking hawkers from UP, Bihar –they have used the ‘son of the soil’ tag to harass and assault poor people just to meet their petty political ends. However, as they say “public sab janti hai”, practicing such a brand of politics didn’t help them electorally.

They won just one seat in the Maharashtra Assembly Elections. Putting up a good show in the upcoming civic polls in 2017 is very crucial for the party to remain politically relevant in Mumbai. So, one cannot rule out clearly thought out political motive of Raj Thackeray and his men when they are calling for the boycott of ADHM.

The issue at hand is that of freedom of speech and expression, artistic freedom and freedom from politics of goondaism. Can we allow one party to decide whether we can go and watch a certain film on a given weekend or not?