The Shiv Sena said on Saturday 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.
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.
Artistes from all over the country are benefitting from the fruits of the foundation laid by Mr 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 Juhu, 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,” it said.
“Many artistes have been awarded Bharat Ratna and also Nishan-e-Pakistan,” it noted.
Incidentally, the Shiv Sena had protested vociferously against Dilip Kumar when he accepted Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civilian 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, Dharmendra did 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 Ms Ranaut’s tirade against nepotism in the film industry.