MNS activists interrupt film shooting

Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is now targeting “outsiders” in Bollywood. Eleven MNS activists were arrested on Sunday on charges of extortion and trespass after they barged into a film unit to protest against foreigners in a film shooting.

The activists were later out on bail of Rs. 3000 each on Monday, said Mr Bharat Mane, their lawyer. They were also charged with unlawful assembly, in the complaint filed by the police.

Mr. Mane said the charge of extortion was completely false and none of the activists had demanded money. “The foreigners had no work permits, that is unlawful,” he said.

The MNS has made an application to the police and Home Minister R.R. Patil to inquire into the use of foreigners without work permits in films.

The activists interrupted the shooting of the film titled “Crooked” starring Abhishek Bachchan at Mehboob studios in Bandra. The film's producer Ritesh Sidhwani was away in Pune and the MNS asked one of his assistants for a sum of Rs. 20 lakh to stop the protest.

Ameya Khopkar, who heads the MNS film wing, told The Hindu that the activists were protesting the fact that the film being made by Sidhwani had used people from Afghanistan, Iran and Russia as actors. The film was trying to recreate a scene from Istanbul which is why it needed all these foreigners.