Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif’s Tiger Zinda Hai is hitting the theaters on December 22. But looks like after Padmavati, this much-awaited film is also going to be embroiled in a political controversy. Issues have been raised by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Shiv Sena leaders about the loss of screens to Marathi films like Deva and Ek Atrangi which are releasing alongside TZH.
Reportedly, the producers of Tiger Zinda Hai have booked five shows across all multiplexes and single screens across Mumbai, leaving Marathi cinema with negligible screens. Raising a voice against the same is MNS Chitrapat Sena leader Shalini Thackeray who says that the party will oppose if Hindi film industry takes screen space at expense of Marathi films. She also added that regional films shouldn’t bear the loss because of big-budget star releases.
“Marathi films must be given prime time shows. Deva wasn’t given screen space against Tiger Zinda Hai. If Hindi film industry takes screen space at expense of Marathi films, we’ll oppose it. We haven’t threatened anyone, we want screen space for Deva,” she told ANI.
“We never said that Tiger Zinda Hai should be replaced by Deva. But we are asking that Deva should be given enough time slots. Maharashtra will not allow any movement against Marathi people. Cineplex owners have to abide by our demand. You call it a threat, then let it be,” she added.
Even MNS film division head Amey Khopkar has reportedly sent a letter to Yash Raj Films, the producers of Tiger Zinda Hai, and stated that if the team is ready to give Deva the required screen space, then MNS won’t oppose the film. However, if they fail to do so, the MNS won’t allow shooting in Maharashtra hereafter.
Speaking to ANI, Amey Khopkar said, “Sent letter to Yash Raj Films. If they’re ready to give screen space to Marathi Films, Deva in this case, then there is no need for us opposing it. However, if they don’t, we won’t allow it to shoot hereafter in Maharashtra.”
Amey also wrote a letter to the theater owners of Maharashtra where he reminded them that they should not forget that they are running their theaters in Maharashtra. He wrote, “You have probably forgotten that you are running a cinema theater in the land of Maharashtra. We are compelled to write to you to remind that our sentiments have been hurt.”
He also added in the letter, “Using their name and influence, the producers have captured all the theaters. What will the other filmmakers do? Where will they go? If the Hindi filmmakers do such monopoly, what will the Marathi filmmakers do? Will other states tolerate such ‘dadagiri’? It is our duty to give rights to Marathi films and for that we shall do whatever it takes. Just because we are patient and understanding, doesn’t mean we are weak. Believe in ‘live and let live’. If you don’t understand this language then we will have to use our ‘special’ language to make you understand.”
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told India Today, “These big fishes (Tiger Zinda Hai) are trying to eat small ones. This dadagiri is done only in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Those who are doing this should remember that Shiv Sena’s tiger too is zinda (alive).” Earlier too, Shiv Sena and MNS had joined hands while revolting against Pakistani actors working in Bollywood.
At a press conference held by MNS, actor Ankush Chaudhari who plays the lead in Deva also said, “We want people to watch our film as well as Tiger Zinda Hai. I too am a Salman Khan fan and I don’t think any film should suffer. But in the current scenario, Deva is not getting screens and that’s why we approached the MNS which has been crusading for Marathi cinema over the years.”
When Khopkar was asked the further course of action if YRF refuses to budge, he said, “Deva will release on December 22 for sure. Whether to make this a peaceful discussion or compel us to resort to other means is up to YRF to decide.”