‘The Last Lear’ producer worried about Thackeray threat

September 8th, 2008 - 10:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) Arindam Chaudhuri, the producer of Amitabh Bachchan’s forthcoming “The Last Lear”, fears he may suffer losses to the tune of almost Rs.70 million if the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) carried out the threat to prevent screening of all films starring the superstar or his family members.“Film producers invest millions in making a film and spend volumes of money on publicity. Due to some unfortunate incident, a film shouldn’t be dragged into any controversy,” Chaudhuri told IANS Monday.

As of now, “The Last Lear” is set to release nationwide Friday.

Chaudhuri said that even a slight delay in the film’s release would disturb his investment plans.

“The release can’t be delayed! My investment has been planned. My Mumbai collections will suffer greatly. Since it is a multiplex release, Mumbai and Delhi are my main markets. In fact, my profits will be affected as 40 percent of the collections come from Mumbai alone,” Chaudhuri said.

“Ever since the news has come, my Mumbai office people are constantly calling me and I have not even got the chance to speak to Mr. Bachchan,” he said in an agitated tone.

The producer said: “Amitabh Bachchan is a national icon. People are waiting for his film - in fact for the film that has his best performance ever. His son Abhishek’s film ‘Drona’ is also coming. This is so unfortunate.”

MNS chief raj Thackeray Monday demanded an unconditional apology from Amitabh Bachchan’s wife Jaya Bachchan, actor and MP, for her alleged “anti-Marathi” utterances.

At the music launch of her son Abhishek’s upcoming film “Drona” in Mumbai Sunday, Jaya Bachchan reportedly said that people from north India in Maharashtra would prefer to speak in Hindi and not Marathi.

“India is the melting pot of all cultures, religions and values. If such things are happening here, all I can say is: it is very unfortunate. Though for the producers, it is a big business hazard, it is a bigger concern for Indian democracy,” Chaudhuri said.

He was also disturbed by the fact that posters of “The Last Lear”, also starring Preity Zinta and Arjun Rampal, were being torn and burnt in Mumbai.

He said: “The courts need to do something about this. How can things continue like this in our country?”

He also supported Jaya Bachchan’s stand on speaking in Hindi at the event and said: “I am a Bengali. If I go to Maharashtra and they ask me to speak in Marathi, I won’t be able to speak. I know Hindi, so I will speak in that language. It’s surprising the way people are penalising others over nothing.”

“The Last Lear”, directed by award-winning filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, highlights the different acting skills necessary for theatre and cinema. It is based on Utpal Dutt’s play “Aajker Shahjahan”.

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