Will ensure best film production facilities in Maharashtra for Bollywood: CM Uddhav Thackeray


Maharashtra will create world-class facilities for giving a major boost to the entertainment sector and to enable it produce quality films and content, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said here on Thursday. He said the government will soon consult all stakeholders in the film and entertainment industry to work together on creating mega-facilities and even scout for a suitable location for the purpose.

"Film production in Maharashtra must of best quality. For that, you need technology and space. Make an action plan accordingly, set your priorities and we shall work it out," he said in his address at webinar 'Envisioning Film & Media Entertainment Policy for Maharashtra', organised by the Maharashtra Film, Stage & Cultural Development Corporation Ltd, with the participation of several big names from the film and entertainment world. "Today, for sound-mixing, people go to London... Why can't we have the same facilities in Mumbai.We will also work to set up affordable theatres and cinema houses in the state," Thackeray said.

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Thackeray's statement assumes significance against the backdrop of the Uttar Pradesh government's plans to set up a mega Film City in the state close to New Delhi. To a query on this, he termed it as a good move. "There is talk of taking Mumbai's Film City to UP. Take it there... If you have the capability, definitely do it. However, in Maharashtra we will ensure that what come out is quality," Thackeray declared.

He pointed out that the foundation of the country's film industry was laid in this state by a 'Marathi Manoos' (Marathi man), which is now flourishing as Bollywood. "Maharashtra was both, the 'janmabhoomi and karmabhoomi' of the legendary Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, alias Dadasaheb Phalke... We will continue his rich legacy. Today's the country's biggest national award (for films) is named in his honour," Thackeray said.

"However, the industry is seen only as a medium of entertainment. It is easy to make someone cry, but difficult to make anyone smile or laugh. That is the strength of this medium.... It always comes forward to wipe out the tears of the people in distress or in crises. Now, we as a government will step up to wipe the film industry's tears," Thackeray said, acknowledging the contributions of the entertainment industry.

In this context, he referred to the public awareness film made by Bollywood director Rohit Shetty featuring Amitabh Bachchan and other actors for the Covid-19 pandemic. Recalling his family's close association with Bollywood, Thackeray reminisced how late father, the late Balasaheb Thackeray would make show cards and artworks for film production houses. "He was a politician, but also an artist and a cartoonist. The family had close relations with legends like Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Manna Dey, other singers, music directors. They all enjoyed a close bond. It is like a big family even now," Thackeray recalled.

On the need for the film and entertainment industry, he said the people, especially actors who work in it "make a place in the hearts of the masses", and this can lead to building a good society, especially since Maharashtra has a rich culture, skills and perseverance. Films are an integral part of the ordinary peoples' daily life, and when they watch movies, they often get involved in it, they feel as if they are "a part of it - knowingly or unknowingly, they become a part of it all...," he noted.