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After Padmavati's indefinite postponing due to protests from fringe groups, another Bollywood movie finds itself amid controversy, barely two days before its release after Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has threatened to stall upcoming Salman Khan-starrer 'Tiger Zinda Hai' if prime time theatre slots for Marathi film ‘Deva’ are not made available. After launching a protest against Yash Raj Films citing unavailability of screens for Marathi films releasing on December 22, Ameya Khopkar, member of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and president of the Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena (MNCKS) has threatened the makers of 'Tiger Zinda Hai' of dire consequences. Speaking at a press conference where he was present along with the team of 'Deva', Khopkar told reporters that while MNS was not interested in damaging property or crossing legal limitations, they won't shy away from doing so if their demands are not met. "We have a very basic demand that certain screens be allotted to the Marathi films releasing on December 22 during the prime time slot. YRF has blocked most of the screens for Tiger Zinda Hai and that's completely unfair for the Marathi films- Deva and Gachchi- releasing on the same day. The Maharashtra government has set certain guidelines for Marathi cinema screenings and everyone has to follow them. If not, I warn YRF to be ready for consequences. After all, their shoots happen in Maharashtra too," said Khopkar, Times of India reported. “We are here to serve the cause of Marathi... We urge you to co-exist peacefully with Marathi filmmakers.
If you fail to understand this language of reconciliation, then we will have to talk to you in our ‘special’ language,” he warned, according to Deccan Chronicle.Actor Ankush Chaudhari, who plays the lead in 'Deva', said, "We want people to watch our film as well as Tiger Zinda Hai. I too am a Salman Khan fan and I don't think any film should suffer. But in the current scenario, Deva is not getting screens and that's why we approached the MNS which has been crusading for Marathi cinema over the years." Deva was originally scheduled to be released on December 1 but was halted due to new CBFC norms that is a movie need to be submitted 60 days in advance before its release. However, Tiger Zinda Hai was given December 22 date well in advance. Another Marathi movie ‘Gachchi’ is also looking out for screens. It is not the first time MNC came to fore for disrupting movie releases. Films such as ‘Wake Up Sid’ and ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, both had run-ins with the party. The former was objected to using ‘Bombay’ instead of Mumbai in dialogues and latter starring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan after the Indo-Pak ties were severed following Uri attack in 2016. Their objection of featuring Pakistani artistes continued when actress Mahira Khan starred in Red Chillies’ ‘Raees’. The issue was soon cooled down following Shah Rukh Khan’s meeting with Raj Thackeray.