MNS invokes Marathi pride over 'Gujjubhai the Great', gives diktat on regional film screenings

The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has issued a diktat to theatres against screening other regional films in prime time hours, saying that the slot should be reserved only for Marathi films.

"We are not against the screening of films in any language. But in Maharashtra, theatres should give preference to Marathi films. If theatre owners fail to respond, our men will not hesitate to vandalise theatres to teach them the lesson of their life," said Amey Khopkar, the chief of MNS's film wing.

 MNS invokes Marathi pride over Gujjubhai the Great, gives diktat on regional film screenings

MNS chief Raj Thackeray. Image: Parag Shinde/Firstpost

The Indian Express quotes Khopkar as saying that in south India, films from the region are given preference and the same should happen in Maharashtra.

The threat comes a week after MNS workers protested against the screening of a Gujarati film Gujjubhai The Great at a theatre. Mumbai Mirror reports that the protest was held at the Sona Gold Cinema in the suburb of Borivali, which has a large Gujarati population.

Maharashtra cultural affairs minister Vinod Tawde in April had issued a directive to the multiplexes to screen at least one Marathi film during the prime time. But it triggered a controversy, and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis later issued a fresh directive that Marathi films could be screened anytime between 12 noon and 9 pm.

The demand to screen Marathi films in multiplexes was originally raised by MNS chief Raj Thackeray, as this Firstpost article notes. In 2010, the then home minister RR Patil had said that it would be mandatory for multiplexes in Mumbai to give Marathi films prime time slots.

The Mumbai Mirror report notes that the increased campaigning by the MNS may have to do with upcoming civic polls, where the party will be keen to make an impact. While the elections for the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation near Mumbai will be held next month, the polls for Mumbai's civic are slated to be held in 2017.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Oct 06, 2015 13:32:06 IST