Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s latest target is filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt. At a book release function in Mumbai on Wednesday, Thackeray lashed out saying, “Mahesh Bhatt is on my radar. I will teach him a lesson. Let me lay my hands on him, then I will deal with him.”
Thackeray has turned his ire towards Bhatt as the latter supported filmmaker Ritesh Sidhwani when he filed a complaint against 11 MNS workers for barging in on the sets of his film Crooked and demanded a ban on foreign item girls. The MNS workers allegedly threatened the firangi members of the film’s crew and demanded that they be replaced with ‘local’ talent.
“They said my workers went where the film was being shot and asked for extortion money. Is there any need for 11 workers to extort money? Mahesh Bhatt called the Chief Minister and asked him to implicate my men in a false case. Who is he to call up the CM and get MNS workers arrested?” asked Thackeray.
When HT City contacted Mahesh Bhatt to react on the same, he had this to say: “I don’t wish to dignify the statement (made by Thackeray) with any kind of response. My silence will communicate more than my words. I don’t want to say anything beyond these two statements.”
Earlier when Sidhwani had launched a police complaint, Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt had appreciated him for showing courage by complaining against MNS.
— With inputs from Minakshi Saini
“I am not Mahesh Bhatt”
The war between Raj Thackeray and Mahesh Bhatt has claimed an unsuspecting victim. Mumbai-based engineer Devashish Saraswat, 26, got a new cell number in February. Little did he know that the number earlier belonged to Bhatt. Saraswat says since the Thackeray incident, his phone is ringing non-stop with calls from the media and well-wishers. “Earlier, people asked for Mr Bhatt, but I didn’t realise they were asking for THE Mahesh Bhatt. Now I can’t even change my number since I have circulated it among friends and also updated it in all my bank accounts” says Saraswat, who works at TCS. Is it driving him crazy? “Totally. I don’t take calls from unrecognised numbers any more,” he adds.