The party is raking up this issue in order to revive itself after faring poorly at the assembly election held last year.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers have protested against the screening of movie Gujjubhai The Great at Sona Gold theatre in Borivali at prime time slot (6 pm to 9pm). According to them only Marathi films should be shown during prime time and no other regional language movies should be screened at that slot. The MNS is raking up this issue in order to revive itself after faring poorly at the assembly election held last year. The party had earlier posed a huge challenge to Shiv Sena, BJP by bringing the Marathi manoos agenda at the forefront. The party has already issued a warning to theatre owners to stop screening regional language movies during prime time or else be prepared to face dire consequences. After north Indians, MNS has been targeting Gujaratis for denying flats to Maharashtrians due to their non-vegetarian lifestyle. Even Shiv Sena and Nitish Rane led Swabhimaan Sanghatana had raked up this issue to garner political mileage.
The MNS activists also said that several theatre owners have been flouting norms even though it is mandatory for them to screen Marathi movies at prime time slot. In April, Maharashtra culture minister Vinod Tawde had issued a directive for multiplexes to screen at least one Marathi film in the prime time slot.
“The protest at Sona theatre is just a start. We will continue to protest against screening of Gujarati films and regional language movies other than Marathi during prime time,” said Siddidha More, secretary of MNS’ women wing.
“The agitation will not be limited to the suburbs or the city. It will cover the entire state. If theatres and multiplexes defy our diktat, we will start a new protest in MNS style” she added.
Earlier the MNS had issued a circular to Bollywood directing them to help the drought affected farmers of the state. The party also had announced that movies of those celebrities who fail to help farmers will be boycotted.
Theatre owners have questioned the logic of the diktat. “If Marathi movies can be showed in prime time, why can’t other regional language films be screened in similar slots?” asked Manoj Desai, executive director of G7 Multiplex and Maratha Mandir said.
MNS vice-president Abhijit Phanse and Ameya Khopkar, president of MNS Cine Workers Wing, claimed that Marathi films were not being given popular show timings. “But Gujarati films are being screened in prime time. Perhaps it is the effect of the Modi-Shah rule,” Phanse said, adding that the MNS would not tolerate undermining of the Marathi pride.
Khopkar said: “In south, the regional language is given the first preference. Marathi should also be given such importance in our state.”