Bollywood split wide open over campaign

Updated on Apr 23, 2004 02:54 PM IST

To campaign or not to campaign, that is the question. And for whom. It?s the dilemma of several Bollywood stars in Mumbai NW.

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HT Image
PTI | By, Mumbai

To campaign or not to campaign, that is the question. And for whom. It’s the dilemma of several Bollywood stars: choosing between Sanjay Nirupam and Sunil Dutt at the Mumbai N-W seat.

Bal Thackeray has been badmouthing Sanjay Dutt ever since he turned down the demand that he seek votes against his father. “His relationship was more important to him. He is Munnabhai; who knows, he may even have a relationship with Dawood,” Thackeray has been saying.

It’s just the sort of stuff the Sena boss is known for, and it’s been working with some people. Suniel Shetty has committed himself to an absurd situation where he’s going to campaign for both Dutt and Nirupam. Manisha Koirala, whom Thackeray helped out during the Ek Chhotisi Love Story row, has already sought votes for the Sena candidate. And Jeetendra has been saying he has a “personal debt” to repay to Nirupam.

Thackeray is, of course, known for his clout in Bollywood. He has mediated industry disputes for years. And both Sanjay and Govinda have acted for free in his daughter-in-law Smita’s films.

Not everyone is scared of Thackeray, though. Union ministers Shatrughan Sinha and Vinod Khanna have refused him flatly. Khanna told reporters last week: “Duttsaab is my godfather. I will never campaign against him.”

Dutt probably realises the stars’ dilemma. So he has embarrassed no one by seeking campaign help. “I have never needed any filmstar,” he said. “They’re all my friends.”

The stars will be thankful to him.

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    I wonder if the Sena and the AIMIM know that Bal Thackeray was the first person ever in India to lose his voting rights and that to contest elections for hate speeches he had made during a 1987 byelection to Vile Parle.

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