Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bollywood to leave Mumbai ??

I found this article on the “Telegraph” (UK) website:

Bollywood threatens to leave Mumbai

Bollywood, India's prolific film industry, is threatening to quit Mumbai after nearly a century following sustained attacks on sets and harassment of actors and producers by local Hindu nationalist political party cadres.

By Rahul Bedi, in New Delhi
11:42AM BST 01 Aug 2012

The Film and Television Producers Guild has warned Prithviraj Chavan, Maharashtra state chief minister, that if his government failed in providing them protection against continuing 'political vandalism', it would consider moving the city's substantial film business to a safer location.

Bollywood, a portmanteau derived from Bombay – Mumbai's former colonial name – and Hollywood is the headquarters of India's mammoth Hindi film industry that employs more than 2.5 million people and is valued at some £2 billion.

"Things have gone out of hand. We can't do business at a place where there is always threat to life" Film Guild head Ramesh Sippy said. There is a need to come together and solve this matter, he declared.

He was referring to a series of recent attacks on several camera crews during film shootings across the city, including one at the weekend by cadres of the Mumbai-based Hindu nationalist Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MSN) party.

Earlier this week MSN activists who are violently opposed to outsiders settling in Mumbai, also smashed 15 cars belonging to film stars, including the 'vanity van' of lead actor John Abraham.

Bollywood stars said over the past year MSN cadres had stormed film sets, threatened production staff and extorted money from amongst those not from Mumbai on threat of violence.

MSN officials were not available for comment.

"By attacking film personalities these political goons are assured headlines" Bollywood's leading director Mahesh Bhatt said yesterday.

They need to be seriously deterred with firm action in Bollywood's centenary year as moving away from the city would not only be tragic but disastrous, he declared. Bollywood without Bombay would be a travesty, he added.

Top Bollywood personalities are meeting with the State authorities on Friday to try and contain this violence and to provide security.

Other Bollywood personalities said that if the state government failed to meet these conditions it would be a 'painful but imperative decision' to consider relocating Bollywood elsewhere.

Neighbouring Gujarat state had offered itself as an alternative, assuring Bollywood of security, better infrastructure and cheaper facilities.

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