07/04/2015 6:42 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Marathi Films Must Be Screened In Prime-Time Slots At Multiplexes, Says Maharashtra Govt

PUNIT PARANJPE via Getty Images
India's Maharashtra state new Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis waves towards crowd after his swearing-in ceremony in Mumbai on October 31, 2014. India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) snatched election victory on October 19 in two key Indian states, tightening its grip on power after storming to government nationally five months ago. AFP PHOTO/ PUNIT PARANJPE (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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, 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."

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...

...while others complained that the move was both forced as well as political.

Meanwhile, in true Twitter tradition, others still simply made jokes.

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