Sunil Shetty begs UP CM for protection from ‘#BoycottBollywood’

Actor Sunil Shetty’s call for Yogi Adityanath’s intervention to help counter hatred against Bollywood comes at a time when UP CM is laying out the red carpet for Mumbai-based entertainment industry. Here’s why Bollywood might be looking at UP CM to rescue it

| Updated: 09 January, 2023 2:35 pm IST

It was an unusual sight to see a saffron-clad monk making his way to the seminar hall of a five star hotel overlooked by a beeline of Bollywood A-listers at an event in Mumbai. While the special meet and greet session was about projecting UP as a film friendly state, actor Sunil Shetty used the platform to urge Yogi Adityanath to save Bollywood from being boycotted.

“If you tell people, Hashtag Boycott Bollywood trend can end. The problem is not that of subsidy. People are not coming to the theatres any longer. It is necessary to bring people back to theatres,” he said.

He emphasized on the fact that Bollywood is not full of people who do drugs all day. “90 per cent of people in Bollywood are doing good work,” Shetty told the CM.

A plethora of artists were present at the event including Jackie Shroff, Kailash Kher, Sunil Shetty, director Om Raut.

Shetty’s comments have divided the film fraternity at a time when a high-budget film like Pathaan has created a furore for promoting vulgarity and demeaning the saffron colour in its song “Besharam Rang”.

His comments have laid bare the trepidation Bollywood is experiencing owing to Hashtag Boycott Bollywood trend which can be traced back the death of Sushant Singh Rajput in June 2020.

Prior to that actress Kangana Ranaut’s allegations of nepotism ruling the roost in Bollywood also damaged the industry’s reputation.

But things started going downhill for the industry when big budget films started to flop, with Lal Singh Chaddha being the latest victim of Boycott Bollywood trend. Part of the existential threat that Bollywood is experiencing today can be attributed to the major strides that South films have made to infiltrate pan-India entertainment market.

Noida film city – second home for Bollywood in the making?

Meanwhile, Yogi Adityanath has been envisioning a second Bollywood in Uttar Pradesh in order to create income from Entertainment industry which till date has been headquartered in Mumbai, the commercial capital of India.

Two years back Yogi Adityanath had announced his plan to develop the country’s biggest film city in Gautam Buddh Nagar. 1,000 acres of land has been identified for the ambitious project. Soon after UP chief minister’s meeting with actor Akshay Kumar and his interactions with other film personalities sparked fears in the then Thackeray-led government that Yogi is trying to drive Bollywood out of the maximum city. The then CM Uddhav Thackeray had remarked “none can come to Mumbai and take away industries from here”.

Back then, the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association had assuaged Thackeray’s concerns with a letter saying the Hindi film industry will never leave Mumbai, however, with the rider that the government should provide better work environment. Yogi Adityanath has announced several subsidies on films shot in UP.

IMPPA in its letter told Thackeray, “to ensure that Mumbai remains the heart and soul of Bollywood which is the symbol of the Hindi film industry and despite all offers and favours conferred upon the producers who will do what is best for their business but they will never leave Mumbai as long as the Government of Maharashtra continues to make the atmosphere work-friendly and welcoming and we are sure that you will kindly do the needful in the matter,”

RSS mouthpiece Organiser recently put out an article titled, “Can Yogi Adityanath succeed in shifting Bollywood to Uttar Pradesh?” The piece ended with a word of advice for the CM on how to lure Bollywood to North India UP CM must engage with film financiers in Bollywood who are mostly Gujarati, Marwadi, and Sindhi traders from Mumbai and Gujarat, Rajasthan, etc apart from Punjabi financiers from Delhi and Punjab who are financing Bollywood films. The article also cited the Hyderabad-based Ramoji Film City which has made South films profitable as a model for UP to replicate.

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