Indian Film Producers Set Temporary Ban on Pakistani Talent Amid Political Tensions

The Hollywood Reporter

The Indian Motion Picture Producers Association has enacted a temporary ban on Pakistani talent, including technicians, in the Indian film industry amid ongoing political tensions between the two countries.

The ban, passed as a resolution at IMPPA's annual general meeting on Thursday, is scheduled to remain in force until "the relations between India and Pakistan are okay," said IMPPA president T.P. Agarwal, according to local reports.

Current tensions are running high following last week's deadly attack on an Indian army base that India alleged was the work of terrorists from Pakistan. Following the attack, Mumbai-based political party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena immediately asked for Pakistani talent currently working in India to leave the country.

On Thursday, India announced it had conducted "surgical strikes" on what are believed to be areas inhabited by terrorists across the military control line between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of the state of Kashmir.

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Pakistani stars are set to feature in several high-profile theatrical releases in India.

One of the most anticipated film releases of the year, romantic drama Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, co-produced by Dharma Productions and Fox Star Studios, features top Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor and actresses Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma along with well-known Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. The film is set to be released during the Diwali festival frame on Oct. 28.

Other upcoming films that feature Pakistani talent include two titles toplined by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, both co-produced by his banner Red Chillies. Dear Zindagi, set for a November release, features Pakistani singer-actor Ali Zafar, while Raees, slated to bow in early 2017, is toplined by actress Mahira Khan.

Following the IMPPA ban, Indian films also will not be released theatrically in Pakistan, according to a report Friday in the country's Express Tribune newspaper. Though an official declaration by any industry body is awaited, the report quoted local theater owner Nadeem Mandiwalla as saying, "We will suspend the exhibition of Indian films till normalcy [of relations]."

This has affected the Pakistan release of the highly anticipated M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, which opens Friday in India and worldwide. Starring Sushant Singh Rajput and co-produced by Fox Star Studios, the biopic revolves around one of India's most popular cricket stars and the current captain of the national team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

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