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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Dons, politicos funded B'wood: WikiLeaks

PTI  Washington, September 06, 2011
First Published: 17:07 IST(6/9/2011) | Last Updated: 19:19 IST(6/9/2011)
A leaked US diplomatic cable has said that Bollywood welcomed funding from gangsters and politicians, known in India as "black money."

While there is no direct reference of Dawood Ibrahim which allegedly financed a number of movies, the cable revealed that in recent decades, the Bollywood film industry has been associated with the notorious Mumbai underworld, at the nexus of gangsters, money, and politics.

According to Jehil Thakkar, Head of Media and Entertainment for (KPMG), this association stemmed from the financing needs of the industry; until 2000, by government fiat, the film industry was ineligible for bank credit, private equity, and other means of legitimate commercial financing.

"As a consequence, films were financed by ad hoc collections of investors, many of whom were from the construction and trade industries, who charged interest rates as high as 60-100 per cent.

"The industry also welcomed funds from gangsters and politicians, looking for ways to launder their ill-gotten gains, known in India as "black money", said the cable issued by the US Consulate in Mumbai, released by WikiLeaks.

After the government added the film industry to the list of legitimate industries, the corporatisation of Bollywood -and the wider entertainment industry - began," the cable said.

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