The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has waded into the latest controversy over Marathi films in multiplexes, soon after the BJP-led government directed multiplexes to provide prime-time slots to Marathi cinema, and the Shiv Sena upped the ante with an MLA filing a breach of privilege motion against writer and author Shobhaa De.
A day after attacking the office of Nana Chudasama, former Mumbai sheriff, over a banner on an issue that MNS party workers found offensive, the party on Thursday took up the cause of a recently-released Marathi film, Kaankan, which is allegedly being denied shows in multiplexes.
Amey Khopkar, president of the MNS’ film wing, said, “The film released on Friday and is running very successfully all over with shows going full. Yet, multiplexes refused to grant any show time for the film for next week. After we raised our voice on this, 95 percent of the theatres that had initially decided to discontinue the film in their theatres went back on the decision. We will take up the issue with the government.” he said.
The film, a directorial debut of Marathi actress Kranti Redkar, was released in 70 theatres, about 20 in Mumbai including multiplexes, across Maharashtra. MNS took up the issue after Redkar and her team approached the party with the complaint, Khopkar said.
“We are going to plan a larger protest on this issue. These kind of cases keep coming up. We want to send a strong message once and for all that the unjust treatment to Marathi cinema should stop,” he said.
On Wednesday, a group of MNS supporters, sporting party flags, vandalised Chudasama’s office, protesting the message splashed on a banner, which said, ‘Promoting Marathi welcome, diktats not welcome.’ Chudasama has been putting up banners at Marine Drive with one-liners on current events in the city for five decades.
Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, who had raised the breach of privilege motion against De in the legislative assembly, said, “No party should try to take political mileage from this issue of promoting Marathi cinema. Shiv Sena has right from the beginning been fighting for equal status to Marathi films. It is certainly wrong if multiplexes are not willing to continue shows for a Marathi movie, but instead of going to any political party, the producer should have gone directly to the state culture minister and registered a complaint.”
BJP’s Vinod Tawde, state’s culture minister, said he hasn’t received any official complaint on the matter either from the producer or the MNS. If any producers have any such issues they should approach the government directly instead of going through political parties, he added.