Welcome to Maharashtra – the land of amazing people and places. You are invited to pursue your education, career and live your life to the fullest. However, there’s a precondition: if you dare to criticise the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, praise the Narendra Modi government or even speak in favour of India, the Maharashtra government will deploy its entire machinery, firstly to make you behave the way the state wants and if you still don’t adhere, then to hound you out of the state. The Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP, all ruling the state, are doing everything to send this message across.
Former Maharashtra Speaker and Congress state President, Nana Patole, stirred a hornet’s nest by threatening to not allow Superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar to screen and shoot their films if they don’t criticise the Modi government over the rising fuel prices.
As intolerance in Maharashtra reaches an unprecedented high, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is waiting with open arms for Bollywood to shift to Noida, as the UP government prepares to build a Film City which threatens to snatch Mumbai’s film industry thanks to the intolerance displayed by the Uddhav Thackeray government.
Congress state president Nana Patole, perhaps enraged by how Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar hadn’t commented over the rising fuel prices in India, resorted to the lowest level of politics by threatening them.
Claiming that Bachchan and Kumar had tweeted against the rising fuel prices during the tenure of the UPA, Patole said, “If they do not take a stand now on the injustice meted out by the Modi government, we will not let any films [screening] or shootings of Amitabh Bachchan or Akshay Kumar in Maharashtra.”
He added that the actors should now play the same role and protest against the Modi government’s “anti-national policy”, as they did during the tenure of Manmohan Singh.
The Indian National Congress’ alliance partner in the state, Shiv Sena who has perhaps practiced such politics better than anyone else, wholeheartedly supported Patole’s threats to Bachchan and Kumar.
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant wholeheartedly supported Patole’s statement as he felt that it was “correct” as earlier the celebrities would allegedly protest even if there was a slight increase in the price of fuel.
So how does the Congress-Sena combine plan to stop the screening and shooting of Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar? Unleashing their hooligans or discriminatory illegal order for political reasons?
This is not a one-off incident and the Bollywood industry knows this. No matter what one thinks of Kangana Ranaut, but the way she was punished as the BMC destroyed a part of her office just for speaking against the vindictive Maharashtra government would have certainly rattled the who’s who of Bollywood.
Forget Kangana, not just Maharashtra’s but India’s shining jewels, Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar were all set to be investigated by the Maharashtra government for tweets calling for the unity of India before public pressure prevailed and forced the state government to perform a U-turn.
Forget criticising the Uddhav Thackeray government or supporting the Modi government, one cannot even do good work on the ground as it would portray the Thackerays in poor light – something which Sonu Sood has learned the hard way. After Shiv Sena motormouth’s threat, Sood had to meet the Thackerays at their residence to diffuse the situation for his crime of helping the poor migrants reach home. The BMC has also stated that Sood’s Juhu hotel is constructed by flouting norms with the actor earning a reprieve after the case went to the Bombay High Court.
As lucrative as Bollywood is as an industry, it is equally money-guzzling if things go wrong especially when you have a large crew. How can the producer ensure that none of their crew offend the Maha Vikas Aghadi government by criticising it or supporting the Modi government or even helping the underprivileged?
Threats coming from such two senior members of the ruling alliance against two absolute stalwarts of the industry must have ruffled a few feathers in Bollywood and thereby look at UP’s upcoming film city as a legitimate option.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath has already asked the officials to make necessary arrangements to make the ‘biggest and most beautiful’ film city in Noida, adding that in the present circumstances, the country needs a good film city and that UP is ready to rise to the occasion, in a signal to Bollywood that UP is ready to take the responsibility to decentralise the country’s existing film industry.
If this continues, it’s only a matter of time before a large contingent of Bollywood decides to shift en masse to Nodia’s film city.