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'Chennai Express' forced to change tracks?

In the light of the film unit of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) threatening to disrupt the release of Rohit Shetty’s upcoming film starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, the director met Thackeray yesterday to sort out the issue.

Raj Thackeray, Rohit Shetty and the cast and crew of the Marathi film Duniyadari
Raj Thackeray, Rohit Shetty and the cast and crew of the Marathi film Duniyadari at the meeting. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi

What prompted the MNS to make the move was the Marathi film Duniyadari. The Swapnil Joshi starrer has been rewriting the box office collections in Marathi cinema. Ever since its release on July 19, every show has apparently been a housefull. There are apparently still long queues at the advance booking windows of the theatres it is running. The film’s cast and crew were also present at the Shetty-Thackeray meeting.

Raj Thackeray, Rohit Shetty and the cast and crew of the Marathi film Duniyadari

The party’s film unit claimed the SRK-starrer was demanding single cinemas across the state at the expense of Duniyadari that is still drawing in the audience and raking big moolah. Their consternation being that at the cost of a successfully running Marathi film, theatres cannot be coerced to screen the Hindi film. Incidentally. Sanjay Jadhav’s Duniyadari, which has been inspired by Suhas Shirwalkar book of the same name, is about a youth caught between parents in a troubled marriage. The turmoil at home makes him seek solace in a bunch of pals.

Raj Thackeray, Rohit Shetty and the cast and crew of the Marathi film Duniyadari

The Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena (film wing) chief Amey Khopkar had declared in a statement on Wednesday, “If the Chennai Express producers attempt to do this, we shall not let the movie be exhibited in cinemas of the state. We shall also remove their publicity posters from Thursday.”

After the meeting with the MNS chief Shetty said, “I know Raj saab personally. We came to meet on a small confusion.” While Thackeray stated “there was no issue.” It was resolved that King Khan’s film would not run at those single theatres where Duniyadari has been having a good run. Those single screens would be left untouched. So all’s well on the MNS-King Khan film front.

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