My country comes first, filmmaker Karan Johar said, breaking his silence on the row over his film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, in an emotional video statement in which he expressed a "deep sense of hurt and pain" by the charge of being anti-national.
Here's the transcript of Karan Johar's statement:
There has been some talk about why I remained silent for the past two weeks. Today I would like to clarify why I remained silent. It is because of a deep sense of hurt, deep sense of pain that I felt, that a few people would actually believe that I am being anti-national.
I need to say this and I say this with strength that for me, my country comes first. Nothing else matters but my country. I always felt that the best way to express your patriotism is through love and that's all I always tried to do through my work, and my cinema.
When I shot my film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil - in September to December last year - the climate was completely different, the circumstances were completely different. There were efforts made by our country for peaceful relationships with the neighbouring countries and I respect those efforts then, those endeavours then, and I respect the sentiment today. I understand the sentiment because I feel the same. Going forward I would like to say of course I will not engage talent from neighbouring country given the circumstance.
With that same energy I beseech you to know one thing that over 300 Indian people in my crew have put their blood, sweat and tears in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and I don't think it is fair to them to face any kind of turbulence on account of other fellow Indians.
I respect the Indian Army, I salute the Indian Army for everything they do to protect us in our environment. I respect them with all my heart and I say I condemn any form of terrorism. Any form, especially the terrorism that would affect the people of my country and me.
I hope all of you understand the circumstance and situation we are in and respect the fact we love and respect our country over and above anything else.