Once again Bollywood has bowed to threats from a political group.
A few months ago, filmmaker Karan Johar apologised to MNS chief Raj Thackeray for using “Bombay” instead of “Mumbai” in Wake up Sid.
On several occasions, parts or words of a movie have been deleted or changed because political or religious outfits threatened to stall its release.
Each time, the government chose to remain silent instead of sending a strong signal to the outfits concerned.
“It is simple. We have to face the ire... Is there any guarantee that vandals would not do anything at all? Despite promises by police, seven theatres were attacked in past three days in Mumbai,” said a theatre owner.
“In fact, it is worse in case of multiplexes since several of them are inside shopping malls. Any kind of disturbance would affect business of the whole mall and not just the theatre. Besides, can we afford to take on the Sena that runs the civic body which regulates water supply and interior designs of the malls?” he added.
The multiplex owners showed lack of confidence in the Maharashtra government.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had promised that his government was capable of tackling the Sena. However, the theatre owners did not want to take chances.
“I am firm on my stand. I am ready to protect them. Let them decide what to do,” Chavan said on Thursday.
The Sena made the most of the mood. “It is victory for the Sena. That theatre owners are not ready to trust the state’s security means that the Congress government is failed,” spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said.
The party, that was on the backfoot following Rahul Gandhi’s Mumbai visit last week, won this round.
By Thursday afternoon, it was evident that the government’s talk would not have the desired effect on distributors and exhibitors. MoS for home Ramesh Bagwe said, “ It is better if the two compromise and resolve the matter through mutual understanding.”
Sources said Sena activists would ensure none of the 63 cinema halls and multiplexes in the city show the film on Friday.