The prestigious Pan-Asian International Film and Music Awards met in Shanghai, China, this week to discuss the upcoming awards ceremony set to be inaugurated in London next year. At the three-day event, the board’s discussions were clouded by recent events pertaining to Indian filmmaker, Karan Johar’s directorial film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
In light of this, the board decided to issue a joint statement on the topic. The statement is as follows:
“Over the past decade, Indian and Pakistani cinema has brought together singers, actors and audiences alike in a way that politicians have always failed to do—proving that the arts and particularly cinema has the power to transcend in bringing peace, harmony and connecting the hearts of people across the world. It is a very sad time for the arts when the hard work of artists across national boundaries over the past decade is brought to a grinding halt over the actions of a few. Every now and then, politicians, governments and groups may have differences with one another but this does not necessarily reflect what is in the hearts of the masses. It is an even sadder time when directors feel they must compromise the artistic integrity of their work to avoid violent repercussions and intimidation from extremist factions of society. We applaud Karan Johar for continuing with the release of his film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil at this sensitive time, however we feel that it is especially important, for leaders of cinema to stand up strongly in the favour of harmony, peace and cooperation by standing behind their work and strongly championing the boundless nature of the arts. We believe that artists know no boundaries or borders, and the arts will always be a tool to unite hearts and remind all of us of our common humanity. Actors, musicians, directors and all artists must never be limited by borders and boundaries. We cannot let extremists of any side tear apart the hard work and passion that has been put into building cinematic collaborations and we would urge Karan Johar to release a director’s cut of his film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil doing justice to the artistic vision he had at the time of conceiving his work. As a leader in the field, his stance on this issue is critical. Giving in to intimidation is the weakest solution and completely undermines both the arts and puts at risk the very soul and future of the industry that we are celebrating. These actions not only affect Karan Johar’s film but may have serious ramifications for the future of international cinema. Throughout history, artists have sometimes had to struggle under the harshest conditions for their craft, and right now is one such critical moment where we must stand in unity in favour of peace and the arts of peace.”
The inaugural Pan-Asian International Film and Music Awards are due to be held in London next year, and will be uniting not only icons of Indian and Pakistani cinema but also of the fields of music and fashion from across Asia as well as Europe and North America.