I am proud of Raj Thackeray. I am immensely proud of the fact that this cub, the true inheritor to his uncle's combative legacy - on the streets and off it - has taught a lesson in patriotism to the Hindi film industry. By insisting on Pexit - the exit of Pakistan actors from Bollywood - Thackeray has ensured there is no milawat of terrorism in the entertainment we relish. This is a 56-inch moment, when every Indian's eyes will well up with tears of joy.
Isn't it amazing that Maharashtra elected just one MLA from the party of this tall leader to the state assembly of 288 legislators and yet, uncomplaining Thackeray took it upon himself to bring Bollywood down to its knees. I can bet that it would have been a Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa moment for Karan Johar at Varsha, the CM's residence on Saturday morning, as he got to see at such close quarters what patriotism is all about. 10/10.
The spineless filmmakers when they were asked to bend, with due copyright credit to LK Advani, crawled. Now each one of them, starting with Karan Johar, will have to put a plaque at the beginning of "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' paying homage to the martyrs of Uri. And also donate Rs 5 crore to the Army Fund. With this, Thackeray has emerged as the new fundraiser for the Indian army. May be once Johar puts up the plaque and signs the cheque, he will be a MNS-certified blue tick patriot.
Does India's Army want money extorted at stone-point? Is this the way Fadnavis wants to govern - thugs on one side, victims on the other? Say your price, man.
In fact, to drill sense into every producer's selfish and business-minded head, Thackeray's outfit Mega Nationalistic Squad (Oops, the MNS, I am told is Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) has insisted that producers will have to give in writing that the film fraternity will not cast any Pakistani actor. Never ever ever ever never.
In one stroke, Thackeray has changed the rules of the game. He is now the 'Sarkaar'. As long as filmmakers will commit errors, the sun can never set on the Raj.
Imagine getting his gentle warriors to threaten theatre owners with vandalism if they screened ADHM and getting invited by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to his residence. Thackeray's sainiks did so by merely reminding exhibitors that glass panes of multiplexes are expensive. This is a message to all of India. Gandhian way of protesting, the Anna Hazare style of indefinite fast is passe. Thackeray's Fast and Furious is in.
Not just that. Like Julius Caesar's "We came, we saw, we conquered," Thackeray could well say "We threatened, we bullied, we conquered''. It is a red letter day for India when the Preamble of the Constitution could well be rewritten as "We The Bullies of India".
Do not be lulled by a few critics into thinking that Thackeray is loathed by most. Given a choice, there will be many a politician who would like to follow the Shiv Sena-MNS template of politics. Divisive, hateful, profitable. In fact, there are politicians who have supported the cause of not allowing Pak actors on Indian silver screen because they see a pot of gold in an endeavour of this kind. Some of them even have a similar track record in encounters with filmmakers, the lowest hanging fruit.
Now that this MNS template has been tested successfully, don't rule out Raj Thackeray clones springing up in different cities of India. Consider this hypothetical situation where over the Cauvery issue, some Kannada outfit decides a film if it stars a Tamil actor will not release in Karnataka and a Tamil outfit protests against the presence of a Kannada actor in a Tamil film. Will Siddaramaiah and Jayalalithaa emulate Fadnavis's breakfast diplomacy and invite the goons and the filmmakers? And ask the latter to contribute to the Cauvery Farmers Welfare Fund if they wanted the film to release?
In 1991, Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena, the school where Raj passed out from, dug up the pitch at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai in protest against an India-Pakistan cricket match. The party did the same in 1999 at Delhi's Ferozshah Kotla. Digging to hit new lows comes naturally to this bunch of nationalistic activist-politicians.
I strongly recommend that Raj Thackeray be provided with Z category security because forget Bollywood, Pakistan would be quivering in its sherwani. They have no clue `Ae Raj Hai Mushkil'.
I also suggest that MNS leaders and cadre be drafted into a regiment of India's Armed Forces to guard the country at the LoC. They would be a hit because they simply don't know any Line of Control.