Ravi Shankar Prasad
Ravi Shankar Prasad

New Delhi: Put in the pillory for giving the absurd analogy of cinema box-office collections to negate economic slowdown, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday withdrew his statement and clarified that he made the comment as he was in Mumbai, which is the film capital of India and "provides employment to lakhs of people and contributes significantly by way of taxes".

"Being a sensitive person, I withdraw this comment," said Prasad on Sunday but alleged that it was "completely twisted out of context". A statement released by his office said, "My comments made in Mumbai about three films making Rs 120 crore in a single day -- the highest ever -- was a factually correct statement."

Incidentally, Prasad also said on Saturday that he had culled the information about Hindi movie collections from film trade analyst Komal Nahta.

At a press conference in Mumbai on Saturday, Prasad was asked to comment on the economic slowdown. The Minister replied: "I was Information and Broadcasting minister in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government and I am fond of movies.

Movies have been doing huge business. Three movies were released on October 2 and film critic Komal Nahta told me that the national holiday saw them earning Rs 120 crore. Rs 120 crore comes in a country, which has a sound economy."

To buttress his contention, Prasad had quoted film trade analyst Komal Nahta when he made the statement about the earnings of three movies in a single day.

However, when India Today asked Nahta about the Bollywood films' contribution to the economy, the trade analyst said it was minimal. (‘‘One or two per cent may be!’’)

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