After Priyanka Chaturvedi, it’s going to be Urmila to be the poster girl of Shiv Sena on social media. Bollywood actor Urmila Matondkar, who had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket and quit the party later, will join the Shiv Sena to strengthen them on social media. Urmila is a famous and intelligent person from Mumbai; she knows how to deal with certain controversies and always stood by Maharashtra and its people. Matondkar’s name has been forwarded to governor B S Koshyari by the Shiv Sena for nomination to the Legislative Council from the governor’s quota. Though Urmila Matondkar’s political beginning was unsuccessful. She contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from the Mumbai North constituency as a Congress candidate. However, she had later quit the party over the functioning of the Mumbai unit of the Congress, and those days Modi magic was at the peak. Recently, she had criticised actor Kangana Ranaut for comparing Mumbai with Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the nepotism issue. The ongoing spat between the Shiv Sena and actor Kangana Ranaut is not the first instance of a fight between the party and Hindi film personalities. It, however, is the first one where a Bollywood personality has taken the Sena head-on. Over the years, the Sena has taken up issues targeting films or actors as and when it suited their political agendas – from batting for the rights of Marathi manoos to raking up anything related to Pakistan or Hindutva. No actors had the guts to take on Thackeray’s the wrong way. However, this changed recently after Ranaut’s attack on the party. Kangana demolished the image of Uddhav and his son, she called out names to spew venom at them. Uddhav might have assigned Sanjay Raut to take on her but that boomeranged at them very badly.
Balasaheb Thackeray built ties with the film industry, at the same time, ruled with an iron fist, which meant going against the Sena would hurt their business. He has a personal equation with several Bollywood stars; Uddhav Thackeray did not do so after he took over the reins of the party. He moved away from street politics in a bid to project the Shiv Sena in a different light. On the other hand, Raj Thackeray (who moved out of the Sena to form the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) inherited his uncle’s way of functioning. Therefore, in 2010, Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan went to Raj (when they faced a problem with their movie’s release) and not Matoshree, although Bal Thackeray was alive then. Somehow, Uddhav Thackeray could not match his father, and his Son proved to be even worse of all. In 2016, Johar also had to meet Raj Thackeray after the latter’s party objected to the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which had Pakistani actor Fawad Khan as one of the leading actors. Raj maintained an affinity with Bollywood but exactly like his Uncle Balasaheb, he kept that deterrence too. If Uddhav Thackeray built a rapport with the film industry, it would have helped him during this “political gimmick”. Film’s economics changed the industry and biggies needed less protection from political parties. Now, they make more money from overseas rights and other things than from here [the box office), so they really don’t need any politicians for their safety. The Sena always picked issues of Marathi culture and the common man with the film industry. It was the cultural protector, but this has turned into a hardcore political battle. Political observers said this is the first time a Bollywood actor has taken the fight with the ruling Shiv Sena, albeit with the backing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to the Centre. The recent war of words is a new type of a clash, the one the Sena is not used to.
The party’s first skirmish with the Hindi film industry came early on after the Sena was founded in 1966. In 1971, Marathi actor Krishna Kondke, popularly known as Dada Kondke, turned to Bal Thackeray for help after the owner of Kohinoor cinema did not screen his movie, Songadya, despite booking it three weeks in advance. Instead, the cinema hall screened Dev Anand’s Tere Mere Sapne. Angry Shiv Sainiks protested outside the cinema hall after it replaced the Marathi film with Anand’s film produced under the Navketan banner. Back then, Sena’s primary agenda was ‘Marathi manoos’.
Well, that was the equation between old generations, now in the new age, the Thackeray’s took an active part in state politics. And the actors are far more successful and prosperous than the Matoshri residents. Above all, it’s BJP, the party that has protected big and successful Bollywood actors keeping them close.
Kangana and her sister Rangoli are staunch supporters of BJP; they have time and again been in news for their opinions and pulling other actors and actresses into it. Whether it is her controversy surrounding Manikarnika or her personal life issues with Hrithik Roshan, Adhyayan Suman, and Aditya Pancholi. Surely she doesn’t share a good rapport with other co-stars. Kangana Ranaut started her journey from a small town in Himachal Pradesh and now she is on the list of top actresses of Bollywood She is also one of the youngest actors to have won the prestigious National award at the age of 22. She is also one of the most controversial, talented, and versatile actors of the B-town. She showed fake sympathy over Sushant Singh Rajput’s death and remained in the limelight for a long stint. Most of the time, she creates unnecessary controversy by taking all names that she is revengeful about. Only Urmila Matondkar not only gave her a befitting reply but shamed her for her acts. Perhaps this is the reason Shiv Sena has approached her. They need one firebrand female speaker who can tackle trolls like Kangana. Meanwhile, there are chances that BJP can rake her marriage as Love-Jihad, which will benefit Shiv Sena to gain Muslim votes. In Maha Vikas Aghadi, Shiv Sena can keep the upper hand only if they manage to gain more votes than the other two. Muslim votes are important for Shiv Sena because BJP can eat their Hindu votes. Urmila joining Shiv Sena has multiple motives.