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No Stand on Pak Actors, But Bachchan Meets MNS Leader

Amitabh Bachchan chooses to meet an MNS leader, who has threatened to ban a film starring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan

Updated
Entertainment
2 min read
Amitabh Bachchan, Amit Thackeray and Ameya Khopkar. (Photo courtesy: Ameya Khopkar)

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) threat to ban Dharma Production’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has vertically divided the Bollywood film fraternity. While Anurag Kashyap, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Karan Johar have backed Pakistani actors, the likes of Madhur Bhandarkar, Anupam Kher and Nana Patekar have supported the MNS-Shiv Sena stand.

The Shahenshah of the industry, however, has refused to join the debate. On his birthday, while Amitabh Bachchan praised the Indian Army in a press conference, he refused to comment on any questions about his stand on Pakistani actors being “banned” from working in India.

But on Friday, Bachchan entertained at his residence the chief of MNS Chitrapat Sena, Ameya Khopkar, who’s been the fierce face of the party’s stand against Pakistani actors. Khopkar was accompanied by Amit Thackeray, son of MNS chief Raj Thackeray. Amit presented Big B with the actor’s caricature drawn by Raj as a birthday gift. The meeting lasted for over two hours, say MNS insiders.

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Curious Timing

Amit gifts caricatures drawn by his father Raj Thackeray. (Photo courtesy: Ameya Khopkar)
Amit gifts caricatures drawn by his father Raj Thackeray. (Photo courtesy: Ameya Khopkar)

Mr Bachchan’s birthday was on Tuesday. Thackeray Jr and Khopkar met him on Friday. The meeting happened while Bollywood continued to debate the extra-judicial ban on Pakistan artistes imposed by MNS and Shiv Sena.

Amitabh Bachchan reportedly later sent his favourite green wrist watch as a return gift to Amit Thackeray.

Big B is a ‘Foe-Turned-Friend’

The meeting went on for two hours, say MNS insiders. (Photo courtesy: Ameya Khopkar)
The meeting went on for two hours, say MNS insiders. (Photo courtesy: Ameya Khopkar)

In 2008, Bachchan’s better half Jaya had locked horns with the MNS, which has projected itself as a party against north Indian migrants in Mumbai. When MNS had beaten up north Indians for not being able to speak Marathi, Jaya Bachchan had said at a function, “Hum UP wale hain, Hindi mein hi bolna pasand karenge.”

This infuriated Raj, who threatened to ban all films featuring anyone from the Bachchan family. Both Amitabh and Jaya had to apologise for the latter’s “anti-Marathi” remark before MNS withdrew its agitation.

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