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Maharashtra Government Mandated Marathi Movies’ Screening in the Prime Time Slot

The BJP-Shiv Sena Government made a controversial move in the state and announced a regulation for multiplexes in the state. On Tuesday, the government mandated state multiplexes to screen regional movies between the prime slot timing of 6pm to 9pm.

Vinod Tawde, the State Culture Minister disclosed that they are processing such a law and that the verdict will be implemented after the completion of the amendment of existing rules. Along with this, he also added that all the cinema halls would contribute to the awareness about Dadasaheb Phalke by screening a short documentary followed by the national anthem.

The announcement created a wave of shock among film fraternity members and drew fierce reactions that slammed this dadagiri and dictatorship from the government. Although some leading personalities of Marathi films welcomed it with joy, yet Bollywood celebrities gave a divided opinion. Moreover, opposition congress stated that regional movies should be encouraged and supported and not forced in a coercive manner.

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Mukesh Bhatt, filmmaker and a resident of Mumbai compared this act of government with dictatorship, while conversing with a private news channel. He also said that such a decision taken in a democratic society, like ours, should be taken collectively.

On the similar note, another Mumbai resident and writer, Shobha De expressed the need of a discussion before such a decision. She conveyed that government should not have taken this decision without consulting parties and raised a query about the willingness of government over releasing subsidy for multiplexes. She also moved to Twitter, the micro-blogging site, with her concern and her expression of anguish through a tweet magnified into a controversy.

Tawde justified his move with the fact that he hasn’t done anything new, but modified an old decision only. He stated that the earlier rule mandated multiplexes for the screening of 124 shows of Marathi films in a year. He clarified that he only added the compulsion of screening a minimum of one Marathi film during the prime time slot.

Prithviraj Chavan, former Chief Minister also reacted against this decision. He stated that promoting regional movies is not a wrong step, but doing it in a coercive manner is an erroneous decision.

Ashoke Pandit, censor board member and filmmaker made a statement that using the act of force in a democratic society is not good. He further added that the government can ask multiplex owners for the adjustment of regional shows in a polite manner. A request would have been better and government should understand the minutes of this business as well.

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