Furious filmmakers plan to move out of Mumbai

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August 2, 2012

MUMBAI — With increasing attacks from hoodlums from political parties and growing extortion demands, Bollywood–s filmmakers are seriously considering moving out of India–s entertainment capital.

August 2, 2012

MUMBAI — With increasing attacks from hoodlums from political parties and growing extortion demands, Bollywood–s filmmakers are seriously considering moving out of India–s entertainment capital.

And with Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, welcoming them with open arms, many producers are firming up plans to relocate to the neighbouring state. Sunday's attack by activists of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on a film unit in Borivli, when the rowdies damaged nearly a score of vehicles, has set alarm bells ringing in Bollywood.

Top Bollywood personalities led by Ramesh Sippy, chief of the Film & Television Producers Guild of India, plan to meet chief minister Prithviraj Chavan in a final bid to get an assurance from the government that such attacks would not occur again.

The MNS has been at the forefront of the growing attacks on Bollywood film units, apparently in a bid to take control of the numerous unions of employees.

On Sunday, nearly a score of MNS activists, led by the driver of a party legislator, attacked a movie set of Rohan Sippy and destroyed it after an altercation with some security personnel.

They also damaged the vehicles of actors John Abraham and Ayushman Khurana.

The police said on Wednesday that a dozen persons, including an MNS corporator, have been arrested in connection with the attack.

Rohan's father, Ramesh, however, is angry with the growing instances of attacks on Bollywood units. Sippy says the industry will not tolerate these attacks any more. Other prominent filmmakers including Mukesh Bhatt, vice-president of the guild, and Mahesh Bhatt, have also denounced the attacks on film units.

They plan to serve an ultimatum on the government; any further attacks by the likes of the MNS will see the industry pack up to some other destination.

Already, most films are shot outside Mumbai and Maharashtra, in locales across India and the globe.

Parties such as the MNS have been browbeating the industry, asking directors not to hire temporary foreign artistes, or dictating terms to them. Some politicians even extort funds from producers.

Gujarat's Modi has been wooing Bollywood over the past few years. While Anupam Kher started an acting school in Ahmedabad about three years ago, other prominent film personalities have been investing in the state in projects ranging from a solar plant to entertainment parks.

Modi had earlier roped in superstar Amitabh Bachchan as a brand ambassador for Gujarat. Other stars who have invested — or considering investments — in Gujarat include Ajay Devgn, Preity Zinta, Arbaaz Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Sanjay Dutt and Suneil Shetty.


Courtesy: Khaleej Times