Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had pulled the rug off the feet of not just Bollywood’s inner hegemons, but also their political patrons with the announcement of making India’s biggest film city in Noida. While the announcement was welcomed by the common public and film enthusiasts, certain Mumbai industry elites were indeed apprehensive about the grand plans of Yogi Adityanath. The most perturbed, however, is Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who has resorted to borderline threats against the UP government’s plans at shifting the film industry from Mumbai to Noida.
“Bollywood enjoys a following across the globe. The film industry generates huge employment. In the last few days, attempts have been made to malign the image of the film industry by certain quarters, which is painful,” Uddhav Thackeray said. He added, “Moves to finish off the film industry or shift it elsewhere will never be tolerated.” The comments by Uddhav Thackeray came in the backdrop of the Uttar Pradesh government giving Mumbai’s film industry the shakes with the announcement of plans to make Noida and Uttar Pradesh the film capital of the country.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier said that the Indian cinema required a new stage and that it was a need of the hour no less. Further, he called Uttar Pradesh the “cultural centre” of the country, which not only shares borders with seven other Indian states but also a neighbouring country, Nepal.“The state government will extend full support to it. There should be Indianness in our minds. We don’t have to keep ourselves away from it (Indianness). If we work with this mindset, the UP government will extend full support,” Yogi Adityanath said. Such statements have obviously made many in Mumbai jittery.
As a matter of fact, the Uttar Pradesh government has already started consultation with industry stakeholders to discuss the development of India’s largest film city in Noida. The announcement by the Uttar Pradesh government over the development of Noida film city has come at a time when Mumbai’s film industry is facing heightened scrutiny from several quarters. Indians seem to have grown a genuine sense of disgust towards ‘Bollywood’ per se, which is why the federalisation of Indian cinema has become so important.
Taking the lead, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has already started work of making Uttar Pradesh a focal point of Indian cinema. Fearing a loss of power and influence over those who currently matter in Bollywood, the Maharashtra Chief Minister has, therefore, taken to issuing statements which say that his government will not tolerate any plans to have the film industry shifted out of Mumbai. One would ask how they can possibly stop a natural pan-India dispersion of the film industry, but then again, momentary power makes people believe that they can do anything. Only this time, the Maharashtra Chief Minister is taking aim at Yogi Adityanath. Who would be winning is not subject to being stated in such a scenario.