It seems like Maharashtra's cultural leash is getting tighter with every passing day. The Devendra-Fadnavis-led state government on Tuesday ordered that multiplexes in the state must ensure at least one Marathi film in their prime time slot — i.e. between 6 pm and 9 pm — every day, NDTV reported.
Multiplexes must ensure prime time slot for Marathi films, orders Maharashtra government— NDTV (@ndtv) April 7, 2015
Culture Minister Vinod Tawde issued an order that said the word 'Bombay' will be replaced with 'Mumbai' in all 199 occurrences in the laws on culture and entertainment, as per an India Today report.
Meanwhile, along with the national anthem and the usual anti-smoking public service announcements, the BJP government has also made it mandatory for theatres to play a song that honours Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema.
The fight to get Marathi cinemas exhibited in multiplexes across the state has been a long-standing one, with political parties Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena issuing threats against multiplexes for not doing the same since 2010.
According to an article on FirstPost.com, it is being suspected that the state government's sudden push to Marathi cinema has been designed to counter these parties's constant efforts to rouse the 'Marathi manoos'. However, to the Fadnavis government's credit, the two parties have reportedly been warned against "creating a ruckus" against multiplexes if they don't conform immediately. This was done immediately after the directive was issued.
Actor-producer Riteish Deshmukh was the first to publicly laud it, calling it "Welcome news."
Welcome News https://t.co/v6TEB5MEc6— Riteish Deshmukh (@Riteishd) April 7, 2015
Deshmukh, who is best known for his comedic roles in Hindi films, is no stranger to Marathi cinema, having produced 'Yellow' and acted in Nishikant Kamath's 'Lai Bhaari' last year. In an interview to TV channel Times Now, Deshmukh was quoted as saying that it wasn't "a fight between Hindi and Marathi cinema."
Opinion on Twitter has been mixed, with some welcoming the injection of fresh, acclaimed cinema...
Providing prime time screen space to #Marathi will help vitalize the industry and provide a healthy competition for good content cinema— Onir (@IamOnir) April 7, 2015
I don’t see what’s wrong if Marathi film industry gets impetus. Isn’t that everyone wants? Only if they can add Indies(non-starrer) with it.— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) April 7, 2015
Good Directive by Maha Govt to screen Marathi movies during prime time. Much needed, as despite demand we weren't able to view films— Ashutosh Deshpande (@randomiserrr) April 7, 2015
...while others complained that the move was both forced as well as political.
The order on compulsory showing of Marathi films comes at a time when terrific Marathi films are being made; let them be shown on merit— Sidharth Bhatia (@bombaywallah) April 7, 2015
MARATHI FILM ROW; Such decision should be taken collectively,how can govt behave as dictators:MukeshBhatt to CNN-IBN pic.twitter.com/YpJvfLlBtW— CNN-IBN News (@ibnlive) April 7, 2015
Is this democracy or dictatorship? I love watching Marathi movies but why is it ALWAYS an Order, a BLOODY rule!— Priyanka Shetty (@shettypriyanka) April 7, 2015
Meanwhile, in true Twitter tradition, others still simply made jokes.
They make films in Marathi?— Raveena4Life (@sidin) April 7, 2015
Maharashtra government will soon force MacDonald & CCD to keep Vada-Paav & GauMutra in their menu.April 7, 2015