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Maharashtra govt orders multiplexes to allocate primetime slot for Marathi films

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MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has issued a directive to all multiplexes in the state to screen at least one Marathi language movie at their properties in the prime time slot of 6 - 9 pm.

Home Minister RR Patil was quoted in a DNA report saying, “Hereafter, it will be mandatory for all 27 multiplexes in Mumbai to give Marathi cinema prime time slots. The permission for new multiplexes will be sanctioned only if they dedicate a separate screen entirely to Marathi cinema.”

The move comes in a bid to give a fillip to the state’s Marathi film industry. Actor Riteish Deshmukh, who made his Marathi film debut with Lai Bhaari, took to Twitter to welcome this news.

It may be noted that the BJP government has also made it mandatory for theatres to play the national anthem as well as a song that honours the father of Indian cinema - Dadasaheb Phalke.

The order, issued by Culture Minister Vinod Tawde on Tuesday, also mentioned that the word 'Bombay' will be replaced with 'Mumbai' in all the 199 occurrences in the laws on culture and entertainment.

It may be recalled that the Maharashtra government led by Devendra Fadnavis had recently offered benefits to private players to make Marathi language films.

A Delhi based advocate Ishkaran S. Bhandari tweeted, “Doubt whether Govt order of 6-9 pm time slot only for Marathi movie in multiplex is Constitutionally Valid. Should be violative of 19(1)(g).”

It remains to be seen how the exhibition industry reacts to this bit of news.

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