By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Although by Friday evening it was being claimed by the Thackeray family that its ailing patriarch was “stable,” Bollywood remained unconvinced. And their worst fears came true when Balasaheb passed away on Saturday afternoon.
Fortuntaley all major shootings and film events had remained suspended on Saturday in spite of normalcy seeming to return to Mumbai.
No filmmaker was willing to take a chance.
One prominent director told this writer on Saturday morning, “What if we resume shooting and then,God forbid,something happens? I am shooting a song. If the Shiv Sainiks (of the Shiv Sena formed by Thackeray) hear music in the eventuality of a tragedy, God knows how they’d react.”
The shooting of Karan Johar’s Unglee, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela and Ram Gopal Varma’s 26/11 remained suspended for the fourth day on Sunday.
A source close to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film says, “We’ve cancelled the shooting for Ram Leela. There’s a huge set of the film languishing at Film City. But it can wait. Mumbai is grieving.”
Vikram Bhatt has postponed the celebration party for the success of his latest release 1920: Evil Returns.
Says Vikram, “There’s no question of any celebration or party. We don’t feel like it.”
Lata Mangeshkar has also decided to indefinitely postpone the launch of her music label. “The function scheduled for November 18 was postponed in the hope that Balasaheb would recover and would be back on his feet. Now all hope is gone.”
Amole Gupte, who played a character inspired by Balasaheb in one of his most celebrated screen roles says, “It’s the end of an era. He was a giant impresario with hypnotic leadership qualities. He was an artiste par excellence and an orator who spoke bluntly. A true tiger, the Chhatrapati is no more.”