Even as the curtain refuses to drop on the tragic and untimely demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, with more twists and turns that would leave soap operas in a lather, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray sternly warned those defaming Bollywood, saying lately, the film industry was being discredited by certain sections but conspiracies to end Bollywood or attempts to move the film industry elsewhere would never be tolerated. Thackeray’s warning comes three days after four film bodies and 34 studios together filed a petition in the Delhi High Court against media houses to “refrain them from making irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood as a whole and members of Bollywood, and to restrain them from conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities.
“Mumbai is not only the economic but also the cultural capital of Maharashtra. Today, Hollywood movies are more popular but there are fans of Bollywood movies all over the world. Cinema is a huge industry and provides employment opportunities to many, while movies make our actors popular. But over the last few days, Bollywood has been discredited by certain sections of the society, which is extremely painful. There are efforts on to finish Bollywood or move it elsewhere. This will never be tolerated,’’ said Thackeray on Thursday.
Thackeray’s outburst comes days after his son and Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray’s name was allegedly linked to the Sushant Singh Rajput case. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had alleged a conspiracy and Aaditya clarified that he was in no way connected to the SSR death case and that he and his family were being targeted for no reason.
Since the death of Rajput in June, Bollywood has been facing a barrage of allegations. At a virtual meeting with the owners of multiplexes and theatres, Chief Minister Thackeray came out in strong support of the film industry popularly known as Bollywood and warned that the government would not allow a malicious campaign against it.
Speculation about Bollywood moving to Uttar Pradesh annoyed Thackeray. During his meeting with Bollywood celebrities last month, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had called his state a 'culture centre' of the country, which not only shares borders with seven other states but also a neighbouring country, Nepal. He invited the film industry to make films in UP and offered his government's pro-active help in the development of a film city there.
Meanwhile, Thackeray told the owners of multiplexes and theatres that the department of cultural affairs had taken the initiative for their reopening and had prepared SOPs and once these were finalised, the government would allow these places to reopen. “The entertainment sector is the driving force behind the state's economic cycle. Neither you nor the government are happy to keep this area closed,’’ he said.
Minister of Cultural Affairs Amit Deshmukh said, even after allowing the opening of theatres and multiplexes, safety and cleanliness will get top billing. He hoped the sector was set to regain momentum with the opening of theatres and multiplexes.