Members of the Bollywood film fraternity say they do not know much about the new cine workers' association to be launched by Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), with some stressing that they did not want political parties interfering in the movie industry.
The MNS has proposed to start a Maharashtra Navnirman Cine Workers' Association.
"We have only heard that MNS has started its own cine workers' association. Beyond that, we know nothing about it. So it will not be proper to comment on it on the basis of media reports," veteran actor Dara Singh, president of the Cine and Television Artistes' Association (Cintaa), told IANS.
Noted TV and cinema actor Sudhir Pandey, former president of Cintaa, pointed out that movie stars who had expressed their support for Raj Thackeray had only done it to the extent of protesting the gag order on him.
"These stars have also told the media that they had only lent their support to Raj as regards the Mumbai Police's gag order against him and that they do not subscribe to the MNS' agenda," Pandey said.
He added that the actors, including Salman Khan, Suneil Shetty and Sajid Khan, had already contacted Cintaa to explain their position vis-à-vis the MNS.
"Before we jump to conclusions, we must first take stock of how the whole matter got blown up in the media and who started it," Pandey asserted.
The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), authorised to take decisions on all matters relating to the 22 different associations of Bollywood, has not been able to convene a meeting to discuss the MNS matter as its president Dharmesh Tiwari is indisposed.
But Tiwari, when contacted, said that the FWICE, or for that matter, all of Bollywood, was totally against any political party interfering with matters concerning the industry.
"We have resisted it so far and we will continue to do so," he said.
Some years ago, firebrand union leader, the late Datta Samant, had tried to form a union of the cine workers under the patronage of his Kamgar Aghadi, but failed because of strong resistance from the FWICE.