Finally, `Chennai Express` gets MNS green signal

Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray Thursday waved the green flag for the hassle-free release of Shah Rukh Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer ‘Chennai Express’ in Maharashtra.

The development came a day after the MNS Chitrapat Sena (Film Wing) threatened to disrupt and stop its release Aug 8 as it reportedly attempted to dislodge ongoing popular Marathi movies from single-sreen cinemas in the state.

The party was upset with reports that the Rohit Shetty directed movie had demanded prime slots in single screen cinemas and even some multiplexes in the state where the superhit Marathi movie ‘Duniyadari’ has been running to packed houses since July 19.

On Thursday afternoon, Shetty, and ‘Duniyadari’ director Sanjay Jadhav and others called on Thackeray to hammer out a solution.

After listening to both parties, Thackeray ruled that if ‘Duniyadari’ was not yanked off single screen cinemas across the state, then the MNS would not object to the release and run of "Chennai Express" in Maharashtra.

After both parties agreed to this suggestion, the decks have been cleared for ‘Chennai Express’ release in the city and the state.

Adopting an aggressive stance Wednesday, MNS Chitrapat Sena chief Amey Khopkar had threatened to bar ‘Chennai Express’ if it was done at the expense of ‘Duniyadari’ or any other Marathi movies, especially in single-screen cinemas.

He also wrote to the owners of all single screen theatres seeking a commitment from them that they would not rip off Marathi films for giving a prime time platform to ‘Chennai Express’.

Based on the best-selling novel of the same title by the late Suhas Shirwalkar, ‘Duniyadari’ has been a major commercial success with critical acclaim, earning a record Rs. 5 crore since its release.

It stars Swapnil Joshi and Urmila Kanitkar in the lead roles and tells the story of a modern affluent youngster`s journey and it has gone down well with the Marathi film lovers.