Bihari Babus want Mumbai to start Bhojpuri film awards
MAMTA SEN MUMBAI | 12th Jun – The Bihari bureaucrat lobby in Maharashtra wants the state government to come up with awards recognising Bhojpuri cinema. These bureaucrats feel that the awards will not only commemorate the 50th year of Bhojpuri cinema in 2011, but will also help Bhojpuri films attain national status. If the proposal gets cleared, the maiden awards ceremony will be held in November at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex, at a stone’s throw from Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s bungalow Matoshree.
“Top female actors in Bhojpuri cinema such as Monalisa and Bhagyashree are Maharashtrians. Even Marathi film producers are raking in crores by producing Bhojpuri films,” said a bureaucrat on the condition of anonymity.
He added that the Bhojpuri film industry is the second largest in Mumbai and it is time it got national recognition: “Mumbai is an obvious choice for such awards as Bhojpuri films are shot and produced in the city. Single-screen theatres that do not show Marathi films will screen Bhojpuri films because they are super hits and money-spinners.” The bureaucrat however, dismissed the speculation that the attempt was a political move by the Congress government to control the North Indian vote bank in Maharashtra.
Ravi Shankar Srivastav, the chairman of Bihar Foundation, said that they have been urging Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to hold an award ceremony in Patna, but that they would not mind if any such ceremony is hosted in Mumbai. The foundation, which is patronised by Nitish Kumar, is controlled by bureaucrats from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. “We thought of the Bandra Kurla Complex as the venue is centrally located and closer to Dharavi, where the Bihari population resides in large numbers,” said Srivastav, who is a bureaucrat himself.
Makarand Wadekar, principal consultant of television programming company In Search, said that the popularity of Bhojpuri cinema has increased so much that the Adhikari brothers-owned SAB TV has requested the state government to give subsidy to Bhojpuri films made in Maharashtra. “SAB TV plans to produce and direct Bhojpuri films and talks are currently being held with the state government to construct infrastructure for the same,” he said.
“The audience for Bhojpuri cinema cuts across all classes. These films have a huge fan following among Biharis — not just among labourers but also the educated and the elite abroad. With UP elections around the corner the Congress will use this opportunity to derive maximum political mileage. The Maharashtra government is taking a lot of interest to capture the North Indian vote bank,” Wadekar said.
On 6 June, the film magazine Cine Bhojpuri hosted its maiden awards ceremony at Mumbai’s Rang Sharda auditorium. Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam, who was the chief guest, is said to be planning to come up with his own award ceremony to keep North Indians in Mumbai happy.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena spokesperson Shirish Parkar said, “We don’t mind any number of Bhojpuri awards being hosted in Mumbai but will not like subsidies to be given to Bhojpuri films in Maharashtra.”
Source: The Sunday Guardian