The Shiv Sena said on Saturday (September 12) that the foundation of the Indian film industry was laid by Dadasaheb Phalke, a Maharashtrian, and artists have achieved success in the industry due to talent and not religion.
Artistes from all over the country are benefitting from the fruits of the foundation laid by Phalke, the editorial said.
“Those who come to Mumbai to try their luck in this industry first stay on the footpath and then shift to Juju, Pali Hill and Malabar Hill to build their bungalows.
“All these people have always been grateful to the city and the state which allowed them to chase their dreams and make it big. They have never betrayed Mumbai but have also contributed to the growth of the city,” the Saamana said.
The comment in the editorial of party mouthpiece Saamana comes against the backdrop of actor Kangana Ranaut’s recent tweet that she staked her “life and career” in an “Islam dominated” film industry, and made films on Rani Lakshmibai and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
“Many artistes have been awarded Bharat Ratna and also Nishan-e-Pakistan,” the editorial noted.
Incidentally, the Shiv Sena had protested vociferously against Dilip Kumar when he accepted Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civil award of the neighbouring country, several years ago.
The editorial also pointed out that the Mumbai film industry provides jobs to lakhs of people.
Referring to the criticism that it is dominated by the “Khans”, the newspaper said at one time the industry was dominated by Punjabis and Maharashtrians.
Many Muslim actors adopted Hindu screen names such as Dilip Kumar (whose real name is Yusuf Khan), Madhubala (Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi), it said, adding that what mattered was only talent and not the person’s religion.
While talented members of Bollywood dynasties such as Kapoors, Roshans, Dutts, Shantarams survived, actors like Rajesh Khanna, Jitendra, Dharmendradid not have any film family background, the editorial said.
“What is the problem if their children and grand-children take forward their legacy,” the Sena mouthpiece asked, in apparent counter to Ranaut’s tirade against nepotism in the film industry.
Dynasties or gharanas exist in the fields of music and direction too, it added.
“These people did not fight the fish while living in a pond” (did not fight the milieu in which they lived)” and “did not throw stones at others while living in a glass house,” the editorial said, in a veiled reference to Ranaut who has criticized bigwigs in the film industry.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led government and Kangana Ranaut have been engaged in a battle of words over the last few days after the latter referred to Mumbai as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
The actor had also said she feared Mumbai Police more than the “movie mafia” after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.
The debate began from there, with Sanjay Raut reacting strongly to her comment by saying, “We kindly request her not to come to Mumbai. This is nothing but an insult to Mumbai Police.”
Soon after, Ranaut’s office was also partially demolished in her absence by the BMC over “illegal” construction, which caused the actor to lash out and issue warnings on Twitter to the Maharashtra government.
(With inputs from agencies)