If you have been following this blog for the past 4 years while I’ve been living in Bombay, you know I rarely cover two topics – India’s movie industry (aka Bollywood) and Indian politics. However, when the two collide it creates a chemical reaction that the media can’t ignore nor I.
My Name Is Khan, the newest film by Bollywood’s biggest star Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), ran into some turbulence this week in Bombay because of the dirty politics played by the Shiv Sena. Let’s rewind a bit.
SRK who is a part owner in the cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders said he would not mind having Pakistani’s players on this team. Agreed, with the terror attack on Nov. 26 in Bombay it’s a sore subject for many but the Shiv Sena, took an extreme view of his comments. The Shiv Sena flew into action and did what they are good at – scare people and disrupt the flow of things. The Shiv Sena threatened to block his new movie and damage the property of the theater owners.
This is not the first time this has happened, the Shiv Sena pulled the same sh#& with a film by Karan Johar (KJ) and sadly KJ had to say sorry to the Shiv Sena leadership team…weak. That’s the issue, the Shiv Sena knows that millions are on the line and can extort people and force their version of terrorism on the film industry. This time the industry and more importantly SRK, told the Shiv Sena to get lost and as usual the Shiv Sena’s threat of violence was all bark. Of course, the PR machine of the Shiv Sena was telling anyone that listened that they were successful in their efforts. I’m still trying to figure out how the Shiv Sena keeps score.
The latest stunt by the Shiva Sena is just another in a long list of things that will make anyone shake their head in disgust. They are focused on all the wrong things because to tackle the real issues would be too much work.
Their stance on past issues:
- Valentine’s day should not be celebrated since it’s not our culture
- All taxi drivers should speak the local language – Marathi
- SJ’s movie “Wake Up Side” – should be banned because they call the city Bombay, not Mumbai
- All BMC/MCGM (governing body of Mumbai) correspondence should be conducted in Marathi
As you can see, the above are all VERY critical issues and much more important then some of the real issues affecting Bombay – poverty, water shortages, electricity blackouts, etc…
On a side note, I think part of SRK’s success in standing up to the Shiv Sena can goto Twitter (he tweets at @iamsrk). It gave SRK an unfiltered and real-time communication channel with his audience. I’d love to see the Shiv Sena use Twitter, oh wait it’s not part of their culture and Twitter currently does not have a localization for Marathi!