At least half a dozen film personalities have been given additional security, following shots fired outside producer Karim Morani’s house, allegedly ordered by gangster Ravi Pujari
In a chilling reminder of the 90s, when the underworld had terrorised the film industry, more than a dozen film personalities have been provided security by the Mumbai police. The measure comes on the heels of a recent incident of firing that occurred outside producer Karim Morani’s house.
Last Saturday, three men, allegedly from gangster Ravi Pujari’s gang, came on a scooter outside Morani’s house in Juhu, and fired five rounds. One of them hit a tree and another broke the tail light of a car parked outside the house. Following this, Morani also got a message on his phone. “The message was sent around 1 am. It said: ‘Tere ghar ke bahar firing ki hai aur uski nishani bhi chhodi hai.
Yeh toh sirf trailer tha. Picture abhi baaki hai’,” sources said. The message alludes to the recently released trailer of the film Happy New Year, of which Morani is a producer. Sources also added that one week before the firing, Morani received another call to organise a stage show of the film’s promotional tour in the US for one of Pujari’s friends.
The star of the film, Shah Rukh Khan, also allegedly received threat calls from a person who identified himself as gangster Ravi Pujari on Saturday. Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria told mid-day, “We have provided security to all film personalities who have received calls from Ravi Pujari in the last three years.
There were some who already had security; we have also given it to those who didn’t have it, as a precautionary measure. I would like to tell the film industry that Mumbai Police is here to take care of them. They need not worry at all.” The incident has overtones of the dark period in the 90s, when the underworld regularly came calling, demanding extortion money, overseas rights for films and stage shows, among other things.
Mukesh Bhatt, president of the Indian Film and Television Producers Guild, said, “The proactive measures taken by Commissioner Maria makes the film industry feel very safe. We are very impressed with the police; the entertainment industry is always in the limelight and a soft target.
But Mr Maria’s actions are making us feel safe, unlike the late ‘90s, when we were vulnerable and targets of extortion, and were asked by the underworld to hand over distribution rights and perform stage shows.”