Chavan assures protection to Bollywood films from attacks

Mumbai: Against the backdrop of rising attacks on Bollywood films, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today assured that the government would protect the film industry and its people.

Chavan also said that the government was ready to sort out other issues faced by the film industry.

"Some political groups take moral and cultural policing upon themselves, and society and government faces problems.

But this is competitive politics. Whenever elections come up, they take up issues and raise difficulties. I am sure, we will protect the film industry," Chavan said.

Speaking at an interactive session on Cinema and Certification, organized by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Chavan said, "I know the film industry is not entirely happy with the state government.

"Sometimes we fall short of their expectations. But I will make sure that they don`t cross the line and the films are protected."

Chavan`s reply comes in the wake of a demand made by veteran actress Shabana Azmi against the harassments by political parties.

"It is Maharashtra government`s duty to ensure law and order situation. If any particular group finds anything offensive, then the State can intervene and say what kind of film certificate should given to the movie," Azmi said.

Recently, Prakash Jha Productions had alleged that a Dalit group had asked it to drop actor Saif Ali Khan from its up-coming film `Aarakshan`. The group had vehemently opposed Khan`s casting as a Dalit, saying that he comes from a royal Muslim family and hence, unsuitable for the role.

Similarly, Shiv Sena had disrupted the screening of Shah Rukh Khan`s film `My Name Is Khan` after the superstar, who owns the Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team, criticised when members of Pakistani Cricket Team were not bought by clubs competing in the 2010 Indian Premier League (IPL). There were protests and demonstrations against him.

Actor-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar`s film `Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho` also faced resistance from a Maharashtra-based socio-political group Maratha Mahasangh, over the alleged abusive title of the film. Manjrekar had met Chavan and demanded protection during the release of the film.

The Chief Minister also lauded film industry`s efforts in creating jobs and adding great value to the economy. "The film industry has created a large number of jobs and adds great value to our economy. It is indeed a great thing."

On the issue of taxation in the entertainment industry, Chavan said that since the state government was facing a budget constraint, it had to impose taxes on the film industry. He however said that taxes should be comparative to other states.

"If other states are offering huge concessions then we cannot go out. We have helped them in whatever was within the domain of Maharashtra government," he said.


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