Mumbai Festival Pulls Pakistani Film Amid Political Tensions

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
Pakistani title 'Jago Hua Savera' ('Day Shall Dawn')

The restored version of the 1958 classic 'Jago Hua Savera,' which screened at Cannes, has been dropped from the lineup following opposition from an Indian social organization.

The Mumbai Film Festival has dropped the 1958 Pakistani film Jago Hua Savera (Day Shall Dawn) from its lineup amid pressure and political tensions between India and Pakistan.

The film was part of the fest's section featuring restored classics, which will screen a mix of international and Indian titles. The restored version of Jago Hua Savera screened this year in the Cannes Classics section of the Cannes Film Festival.

As reported earlier, political tensions between India and Pakistan are currently at a new high following a series of border incidents last month, which led the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association to enact a temporary ban on Pakistani actors in Indian films. In response, Pakistani theater owners said they would refrain from screening any Indian films in the country.

According to a report in the Indian Express, Mumbai-based social organization Sangharsh Foundation opposed the screening of Jago Hua Savera and wrote to the police seeking permission to protest against the film.

"Given the current situation, the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star has decided not to program Jago Hua Savera as part of the Restored Classics Section," fest organizers said Monday in a statement.

The Mumbai Film Festival is organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images with its principal sponsor, telecom major Reliance Jio, along with 21st Century Fox's Star India network.

Directed by A.J. Kardar, Jago Hua Savera put Pakistan on the international map, becoming the country's first-ever entry in the foreign-language Oscar race. The film focuses on the lives of fishermen in East Pakistan, which eventually became the independent country of Bangladesh in 1971.

Meanwhile, ongoing political tensions could also affect the release of major Bollywood title Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, set to be distributed by Fox Star Studios, which also stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. Scheduled to open during the prime Diwali festival frame on Oct. 28, the pic also stars Indian actor Ranbir Kapoor and actresses Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma.

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, stars Mahira Khan.

The Mumbai Film Festival is set to run Thursday through Oct. 27, and will close with Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams.