Bollywood honchos resent Thackeray’s stand against Jaya

September 9th, 2008 - 12:04 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) Bollywood filmmakers and actors Monday sharply reacted to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray’s comments against actor and MP Jaya Bachchan, with veteran Shyam Benegal saying it was a “childish” and “silly” remark over a “light-hearted joke”.Earlier in the day, Thackeray, who has been spearheading a campaign against north Indians in Maharashtra, demanded an unconditional apology from Jaya for her “anti-Marathi” utterances.

Thackeray also threatened to prevent the screening of all films and advertisements starring any of the Bachchans - Amitabh and Jaya and their son and daughter-in-law Abhishek and Aishwarya in Mumbai and whole of Maharashra.

“This is an attempt to divide the entire industry and create borders within the nation,” Nafisa Ali, actor and social worker, told IANS.

Thackeray’s remarks at a press conference in Mumbai Monday were in response to Jaya who on Sunday said north Indians in Maharashtra would prefer to speak in Hindi and not Marathi. She was speaking at a function to promote her son Abhishek’s upcoming film “Drona”.

Filmmaker Ravi Chopra whose films like “Zameer” (1975), “Baghban” (2003), “Baabul” (2006) and “Bhoothnath” (2008) starred Amitabh Bachchan said: “We are all Indians first and everything else comes secondary. Whatever Jaya Bachchan has said is not at all offensive. She was perfectly fine in her statement and this issue is completely stupid.”

Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal echoed the same but added: “The whole thing is so silly and childish. There should be some sense of humour. It was a kind of ligh-hearted joke and I don’t understand why such strained reaction came from Thackeray. Nothing serious has happened as such.”

Said director Kunal Deshmukh: “Hindi is our national language and everyone is free to speak whatever language one is comfortable with.”

Director Rohan Sippy whose both directorial ventures “Kuchh Naa Kaho” (2003) and “Bluffmaster” (2005) star Abhishek Bachchan was unaware about Thackeray’s statement and refused to comment on it. “I haven’t seen or heard what has happened, so it is not right to comment on it.”

Actor and censor board head Sharmila Tagore requested the media not to hype the matter taking things in good humour. “I know Jaya very well as she is a friend. I don’t think she will do anything irrelevant or silly. Lets not give this thing media hype. Such humour should be allowed and nothing as such is to be taken seriously.”

This is not the first time Thackeray has pointed a finger at the Bachchans. He had earlier criticised Amitabh Bachchan for being Uttar Pradesh-centric during his campaign against north-Indians in Maharashtra.

He also questioned Bachchan’s move to construct a girls school in Uttar Pradesh named after his daughter-in-law and film star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

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