MUMBAI: Film-maker Karan Johar, whose 2016 film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil came under attack from a Maharashtra-based party for featuring Pakistani star Fawad Khan, says that he feels "terrible" about putting out a video statement in which he said that he will not engage with talent from Pakistan.
The film's release became doubtful after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena protested against the involvement of Fawad in it. Prior to the release of the film, Karan issued a video statement seen as an apology to appease the strong-arm tactics of the Sena leaders.
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Asked by anchor Vir Sanghvi about the apology video, Karan said during an interview on news channel CNN-News18: "At the time of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, I was torn between ideology and circumstance. I have my own belief and thoughts on this, but there's a studio and cast I'm accountable to, the team of the film I'm accountable to. So I had to put out a statement which I feel terrible about."
The 44-year-old filmmaker says he felt terrible to be in a place in his life where he had to "sit in front of the camera" and speak about his "nationalism and patriotism".
"I feel I've contributed to this country in my own tiny way over the last 20 years of my career... I've been working in this industry for two decades and the fact that I had to be there and was given the advice to do this," added Karan, whose directorial debut Kuch Kuch Hota Hai released in 1998.
Karan counts the apology as one of his top three worst moments in life. "Everyone said it looked like you were going to cry. I wasn't crying and pleading to profess my nationalism. I wanted to break into tears... the fact that I had to do this. It felt like there was an invisible gun on my head," he said.
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The director also talked about film-maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who was recently assaulted on the sets of his upcoming film Padmavati in Jaipur.
"I couldn't stop myself when I saw what happened to Sanjay Leela Bhansali because he's a fellow filmmaker. He and I are not best friends but I have great regard for him as a filmmaker and he's a very prominent filmmaker. How dare someone come on that set and assault that man? It's ridiculous," he said.
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