The Indian political party Shiv Sena is continuing to protest against the filming of “Bigg Boss 4” in Lonavala, a hill station in the state of Maharashtra.
The party’s complaint with the show is the inclusion of two Pakistani celebrities —Veena Malik and Ali Saleem.
According to IANS, a Shiv Sena-sponsored shutdown was restricted to the city, where the show is being shot. The party’s spokesperson and legislator Neelam Gorhe said that despite demands by the party, Colors TV (which produces and broadcasts the show) has not removed Malik and Saleem.
Gorhe told IANS, “Even the Pune district collector has served a show-cause notice to Colors, asking why the show should not be stopped since it is creating law and order issues in the famous hill station.”
She said party workers would stage demonstrations in the town and take out a procession to the “Bigg Boss” house, which is located on the outskirts of Lonavala.
Last Tuesday, Shiv Sena activists reached the house and beat up security guards. Later on in the week, activists managed to enter the premises by jumping over barricades. According to the Hindustan Times, two Lok Sabha (parliament) members were allowed to enter the house and speak to representatives from Colors TV, who informed them that they did not have the authority to shut down filming. Fifty party workers were detained by the police and released later.
The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has also condemned the inclusion of Pakistani actors and demanded that Colors evict them from the show.
Shiv Sena and MNS have protested against Pakistanis working in India before. After the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, MNS protested against comedian Shakeel Siddiqui working in India. MNS entertainment cell president Amey Khopkar said at the time, “We got to know that Shakeel was on the ‘Chinchpokli to China’ set so we decided to raid the place. We took him out of the set and told the producers not to hire any Pakistanis. We will not even allow films starring Pakistani actors or singers to be released in Maharashtra.”
Party activists also burned CDs of musician Ghulam Ali.
Shiv Sena has also protested against the inclusion of Pakistani children in the musical talent show “Chhote Ustaad”, which was being aired by the Star TV network.
Earlier this year, Shiv Sena protested against Shah Rukh Khan for comments he made about the exclusion of Pakistani cricketers from the Indian Premier League. As a result of the protests, the release of his film My Name is Khan was affected in Mumbai as cinemas chose to shut down instead of releasing the film and facing the Sena’s ire.
The Bharatiya Janata Party recently lashed out at actor Salman Khan for comments he made about the 26/11 attacks in an interview with Express 24/7.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2010.