After PadMan, Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary banned in Pakistan
Neeraj Pandey directorial Aiyaary finally releases in India today. The movie had a spree of date changes in order to avoid clashes with other big banner releases. While it has finally released in India, the movie has failed to get a green signal for release in neighbouring Pakistan. This comes right after the Akshay Kumar-Radhika Apte-Sonam Kapoor starrer PadMan was banned in Pakistan. One should note here that, in 2017, Pakistan have banned six Hindi films including Tiger Zinda Hai, Tubelight and Raees.
Aiyaary has a patriotic tone to it and its plot deals with the Indian Army. Naturally, the film portrays Pakistan in a grey shade. This isn’t the first time films have been shunned in Pakistan. Neeraj Pandey's Baby and Naam Shabana or Kabir Khan's Phantom too have not seen a release in the country. A source was quoted in Deccan Chronicle saying, “Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI has refused to issue an NOC for the film.”
Presented by Plan C and Jayantilal Gada (Pen) and produced by Shital Bhatia, Dhaval Jayantilal Gada, Motion Picture Capital, Aiyaari stars an ensemble cast of Manoj Bajpayee, Sidharth Malhotra, Rakul Preet Singh, Pooja Chopra, Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher, Kumud Mishra, Adil Hussain and Vikram Gokhale.
“This time I had told my team to not even try for a Pakistan release. But then we had the luxury of time due to frequent postponement of the film. We had strong queries (demand for the film) from Pakistan, but I knew that it will not get released there,” Neeraj Pandey was quoted in media reports.
“I don’t think I am a problem. It has to be the film. The theme (Aiyaary) is very patriotic and doesn’t cut well there. Even MS Dhoni was not allowed to be shown in Pakistan,” he added.
The film earlier got in trouble with the Central Board of Film Certification in India too and the makers were asked to get a clearance from the Ministry of Defence. Aiyaary was initially set to release on January 26. With the release date of Akshay Kumar's PadMan getting pushed from January 25 to February 9 to allow for a solo release for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Aiyaary was forced to move its release to February 16 from the earlier February 9. After the changes suggested by Defence Ministry were incorporated, the censor board finally gave Aiyaary a certificate on February 6, just 10 days before its release date.