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Why is Akshay Kumar named in MNS's fight against Hindi film industry?

The Pad Man actor shared a video asking people to watch the Marathi film Deva, which led him in the controversy as the supporter of Marathi films.

Keyur Seta

Tiger Zinda Hai is all set to be released in around 4,500 screens across India on Friday, 22 December. Salman Khan's fans have been keenly awaiting the release, however, the Ali Abbas Zafar directorial has become yet another film this year to get embroiled in controversy. 

Marathi film Deva: Ek Atrangi, starring Ankush Chaudhari, is also scheduled to be released on the same day, but is finding difficult to get shows, with the theatres reserving most shows for Tiger Zinda Hai. This hasn’t gone down well with Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which has previosuly too protested against the lack of shows given to Marathi films. 

Amey Khopkar, the head of MNS’s cine wing, has taken up the matter and written a letter to the theatres urging them to provide more shows for Deva. 

Shalini Thackeray, general secretary of MNS and wife of Raj's cousin Jeetendra, too joined the bandwagon and blamed Hindi film industry of not letting Mararthi films get adequate number of shows. “Marathi films must be given prime time shows. Deva wasn't given screen space against Tiger Zinda Hai. If Hindi film industry takes screen space at expense of Marathi films, we will oppose it. Haven’t threatened anyone, want screen space for Deva," she told a news agency.

Actor Akshay Kumar too has been pulled into the matter for promoting Deva on his Twitter account. The Pad Man actor shared a video yesterday asking people to watch Deva, a freindly gesture, since he is close to the film’s producers. “This is a very special shoutout for @pramodfilmsnew, my Godfather in the industry...don't forget to catch their film Deva - Ek Atrangi releasing on Dec 22 at a theatre near you @devathefilm,” he wrote.

Following this, picked this tweet but tweaked the message. According to their report, Akshay, in his tweet, urged people to prefer Deva over Tiger Zinda Hai.

Taking heed Shalini Thackeray congratulated and praised Akshay for his support to Marathi films. “In a state where various film industries are thriving, Marathi films are being ignored. In such situation, we should appreciate ‘Khiladi’ Akshay Kumar for standing in support of Marathi cinema.” 

Interestingly, not words of support have been spoken for another Marathi feature Gachchi, starring Priya Bapat and Abhay Mahajan, which will also be released on 22 December.