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Amitabh Bachchan under friendly fire

Sena paper slams Big B for not ‘speaking for M'rashtra’; Thackeray resorts to damage control later, reports Rajendra Aklekar.
Hindustan Times | By Rajendra Aklekar, Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 06, 2008 03:29 AM IST

The Big B found himself in a starring role in a controversy again on Saturday, as the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Saamna, criticised the superstar for not ‘speaking for Maharashtra’. This is the first time that the paper has criticised Bachchan.

“No one needs to question what I have done for Mumbai, for I know what I have done,” was his reaction.

Sena chief Bal Thackeray distanced himself from the controversy. “I have not said or written anything about Amitabh Bach-chan. He is our family friend,” Thackeray said, blaming news channels for playing up the matter.

The Saamna cue was a daylong fast staged by the who’s who of the Tamil film industry in connection with the Hogenakkal dispute. In a front-page report, the paper praised Karnataka-born superstar Rajinikanth for participating in the fast and speaking for his karmabhoomi Tamil Nadu. It added that those who made it big in Mumbai and Maharashtra never did so — and this included Bachchan. It also said Rajinikanth dwarfs Bachchan.

Saamna executive editor and Sena MP Sanjay Raut pointed out that the report had been filed by a news agency. In a press conference, he said Thackeray, his entire family and the Shiv Sena had the highest regard for Bachchan.

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