Close on the heels of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena demanding prime time slots for Marathi movies in theatres, the Shiv Sena claimed on Tuesday that the party has been fighting for the cause since long as it had filed a petition in the court for at least 500 shows for such movies every year.
"The Maharashtra Cine and Television Sena, has been fighting in the court since last three months demanding 500 compulsory shows of Marathi movies every year," Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said in the party mouthpiece Saamana. The decision in this regards is expected on Wednesday, he said.
"The Sena is strongly behind the producers of Marathi films. The matter will not be solved only by publicity. We need to fight it out at the judicial level," Uddhav said, taking a dig at his estranged cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray. In June, the Bombay High court had ruled that single screen theatres in Greater Mumbai will have to temporarily screen at least 44 shows of Marathi films every year, against the minimum of 112 shows a year rule as per a resolution of the Maharashtra government, until a final decision in this regard is taken. "The government can not properly explain the court about Marathi movies and therefore the compulsory shows which were 112 earlier had been reduced to 44," Uddhav alleged and added that the Sena was demanding more shows.
MNS chief Raj Thackarey had warned multiplex owners to show Marathi movies at prime time slots last week and also held a meeting with Marathi film producers on Monday. MNS workers had held protests in the city, neighbouring Thane and Aurangabad districts in this regard.
Highlighting the efforts by other states to promote the local language, Uddhav said the Malayalam film industry enjoyed the backing of the Kerala government despite a major percentage of its movies failing at the box-office. "In 2001, 70 Malayalam movies were released of which only 10 managed to do well at the box office. Despite losses of Rs 100 crore to the Malayalam film industry, their state government was still in favour of the regional films and theatre owners were forced to show the movies," he said. There are 1600 theatres in Maharashtra of which 500 are available for Marathi movies. In the running year, about 100 Marathi movies are expected to be released and the industry budget is of Rs 150 to 175 crore, Uddhav said. But the state government's contribution is only Rs eight to nine crore, he alleged. Uddhav said the Sena will also demand concession in theatre rent for Marathi movies, as given to Hindi films.