The film fraternity on Monday reacted with shock and indignation to Raj Thackeray's offensive against Amitabh Bachchan and North Indians warning that "dangerous sentiments" were being whipped up to serve "personal agendas."
Eminent directors and producers hoped that good sense would soon prevail among Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and that they refrain from wanton attacks.
Shyam Benegal said he was shocked and disgusted at the latest turn of events in Mumbai and wondered what was the rationale or logic behind raking up a non-issue.
"Indians are Indians everywhere in India, Maharashtra is no exception, and it is not a country on its own. Mumbai is not a city on its own," Benegal said.
The Director said it was rather silly to say that Amitabh Bachchan makes his money in Maharashstra and decides to do things elsewhere in India. The remark came in the light of Raj Thackeray questioning Amitabh's loyalties to Maharashtra.
"That's up to him where he wishes to use his money," Benegal said.
In a veiled attack on Raj Thackeray, Mahesh Bhatt said the manner in which political goals were sought to be achieved showed that some leaders are short-sighted and do not have a long-term vision.
"The issue is far bigger than an individual or a particular icon. The issue is Bollywood is part of Mumbai and Mumbai is a part of India.
"What is happening in Mumbai is something dangerous and we need to caution ourselves against," he said.
Two theatres in Thane and Nashik screening Bhojpuri films were on Sunday attacked by MNS activists who also targetted some vendors and taxi drivers belonging to north India in Central Mumbai.