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Gujarat given time till Friday to release <i>Fanaa</i>

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    Tuesday, May 30, 2006
    Mumbai (UNI): Bollywood today unitedly backed actor Aamir Khan in his stand off against BJP in Gujarat over comments on Narmada dam oustees and gave the exhibitors in the state time till Friday to release Fanaa. Addressing a press conference, Mr Pahlaj Nihalani, the President of Association of Motion Pictures and Television programme producers (AMPTPP), and Amit Khanna, who heads the Film and Television Producers Guild of India (FTPGI), said the industry is supporting Aamir Khan and everybody should respect the freedom to dissent from majority view. ''Aamir Khan said nothing which is detrimental to the interests of the country or Gujarat and he has clarified his position several times in the last one month,'' they said, adding that if the film is not screened by Friday, the industry would chart out its course of action in the next seven days.

    ''We cannot tolerate the film industry being meted out injustice and allow our workers to suffer. If the film is not exhibited in Gujarat by Friday, we should not be blamed for the consequences'', Mr Nihalani said, but refused to divulge their next plan of action.

    To a question on whether the industry would consider boycotting the Gujarat territory, Mr Khanna hoped that the current impasse would not last long. ''We hope better sense would prevail as we do not want confrontation with anybody. We hope this is not war because neither we nor the government of Gujarat would benefit'', he added.

    Vehemently criticising the stand of the Gujarat government, Mr Khanna said exhibitors in the state were not screening the film under pressure. ''The police is not giving them protection. The government's primary responsibility is protection of life and property of its citizens'', he added.

    Mr Nihalani warned politicians to stay away from movie business and not to draw milege by targetting film personalities. ''Once a film is cleared by the Censor board, it is nobody's business to stop it's screening. If one wants to protest, it can be done peacefully at least 500 meters away from a cinema hall'', he added.

    Mr Khanna and Mr Nihalani rejected criticism that the Mumbai Film Industry was not supporting Aamir and that the industry was a divided lot.

    ''We are practicing professionals and are most of the time busy in different parts of the country and sometimes the world. If is not possible for us to make our views public on any stand immediately.

    But, we are in touch most of the time'', he added.

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