Raj Thackeray’s men are up to their tricks again. On Saturday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) party workers ransacked multiplexes across the city for not screening the mandatory Marathi films.
“These multiplexes have got a lot of subsidies from the state, but they tend to dislike the local language,” said party worker Shalini Thackeray.
The cinemas that bore the brunt of these attacks included Nakshatra at Dadar, Starcity at Matunga, Cinemax at Kandivli, Infinity Mall at Thane and Anjali Big Cinemas in Aurangabad.
The violence was worst at Cinemax, where hundreds of MNS party workers vandalised the cafeteria and beat up the multiplex manager. The MNS, however, claimed the attacks were a “spontaneous reaction” to the sidelining of Marathi cinema.
The MNS had initially raised the issue on Monday, demanding that the cinemas screen Marathi films or face MNS action.
On Saturday, Shalini said, party workers went to the cinemas with memorandums asking that Marathi movies be screened, “but then went berserk and damaged the premises”.
Not to be left behind, the Shiv Sena has also jumped on the bandwagon, saying on Friday that it would adopt a democratic approach by moving court to seek action against cinema hall owners who do not show the legally prescribed number of Marathi films each month.
“We shall prove to the court how the multiplexes are flouting rules with impunity and we will also demand at least 500 shows yearly,” said Samir Dixit of film workers’ trade union Maharashtra Chitrapat Sena.
“The current rule of 44 shows a year is too little,” he added. “In other states, it is mandatory for 60 per cent of shows to be for films in the local language.”