Home » Cartelization of Entertainment

Cartelization of Entertainment

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 7 minutes read

By: Sauro Dasgupta
UG 3, Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

Recently, the makers of the Amazon Prime web series ‘Tandav’ – Ali Abbas Zafar were lambasted by netizens and FIRs filed against them and the actors Saif Ali Khan, Md Zeeshan Ayub and the rest. It brings up the discussion on censorship once again. In principle, we must be opposed to censorship. However, many books, magazines, newspapers, works of art, cinema, etc. need to be concerned if they refuse to be bound by the reasonable restrictions imposed on grounds of  security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency and morality, contempt of court, defamation, incitement to an offence, and sovereignty and integrity of India.
Often artistes take their freedom for granted. They think that they are above their law and that with the help of their contacts, they will be able to be scot-free from all offences. This was seen when several production companies filed cases in the Supreme Court against several news channels that had raised serious allegations against the film industry in the aftermath of the Sushant Singh Rajput Suicide Case.
A fatwa against activists or anyone else willing to investigate in the dark and murky recesses in the cesspool of our film industry is never portrayed as fascistic and intolerant. The artistes think that whatever they do has to be accepted by the people.
Our film industry’s tryst with the underworld began very early. The modern Bombay underworld was a creation of three gangsters, who considered themselves as the godfathers of the city-Karim Lala, Varadarajan Mudaliar and Haji Mastan Mirza. Mirza was so enamoured by a film actress named Rehana that he married her. He also began investing in the films that would cast her. This was a time when the film industry required a lot of money as the government had refused to give the film industry the status of an industry. As a result, banks and financial institutions of our country refused to give loans to the filmmakers. Therefore, they had to seek funds elsewhere.
As long as Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister, our films combined a mix of nationalism and socialism. Therefore, we had Amitabh Bacchaan and his contemporaries acting in films as sons of poor and middle class families fighting against the system and the state. But most of these films did not make a huge amount of money at the Box Office. Now, the underworld had lots of money and power and our film industry had lots of glamour, beautiful heroines and fantasy. So it was natural for them to have a symbiotic relationship. The dons invested huge sums of capital in film companies and often obtain the Music and Overseas Rights of the films. They began to finance films and later became film producers on their own. Naturally, there were several films glorifying gangsters in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Now all dons began to indulge in this business. They could not be traced by Mumbai Police at all and sometimes the police aided in the rise of these dons, for many gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, Shabbir Ibrahim Kaskar, Hassena Parkar, etc. were children of policemen The money was transferred via hawala from Mumbai to Mauritius, Nairobi, Karachi, New York, New Jersey, Dubai, Singapore, Switzerland, Malaysia, Indonesia, Maldives, etc and vice versa. Since many politicians, bureaucrats and police officers were in the loop of the business, no action was taken against them. The gangsters began to reign over Mumbai from abroad and their cronies in Mumbai began to unleash a reign of terror over the people. Gangsters began to produce films, engage their children in the film industry and rule over the film industry.
When the police attempted to take action against the extortion cartel of the film industry, they shifted their tactics from extortion to film production. Producers who refused to pay them protection money or cast the stars of their choice were shot dead, kidnapped or injured so badly that they had to submit to the wishes of the cartel. The gangsters now demanded fifty to sixty per cent of the Box Office collection of the films and coerced the producers and directors to cast actors and actresses of the choice of the Godfather. The film stars had to sign the contracts of the films produced or financed by these gangsters even if they did not want to do so.
The cartel had kept the press close to them. No media organization could dare to report correctly on the activities of them. To evade the police, they often did the film shootings in lush fields, beaches, mountains or cities abroad. The celebrities would also have to arrive at parties hosted by the gangsters to perform and entertain the audience. In fact, stars close to the gangsters had to be compulsorily cast in all films. Besides, the dominance of the directors and producers who were close to the gangsters increased tremendously. The gangsters started exerting their influence in shipping, aviation, construction, and politics and in every arena involving money, power and influence.
In many of the countries, they found a safe haven as India did not have extradition treaties with them. In response, the police started to tap the phones of the concerned directors. So the gangsters started threatening them and several producers for more rights like Music Rights, stage shows, DVD Rights, Overseas Rights, etc. Producers were forced to cast only a set of stars and now had no freedom to cast stars of their own choice. Those refusing to do so were assaulted by the henchmen of the gangsters, who now tried to exercise control on the Indian Motion Pictures’ Association.
Many stars began to associate themselves with the gangsters out of fear or out of expectation of meaty roles in films along with a huge amount of unparalleled money and power or to raise their social profiles and compel producers to accept their terms and conditions. They began to damage the reputation of the film industry worldwide. The henchmen of the gangsters now infiltrated in every department of the film industry- production, direction, shooting, catering, distribution, camera, lights, sound, action, etc. The media now documented the police investigations as misuse of state power and the film stars as innocent.
Now a few film producers came forward and filed police complaints against the gangsters. To encourage them, the police gave them adequate protection. They tried to audit every company they suspected to be hand in glove with the gangsters. They also motivated the producers to refuse to give them any help and eliminate their influence from the industry. The police also began to take action against all the culprits who were either killed in encounters or were forced to mend their ways.
By the 2000s, the film industry had been freed from the influence of any cartel, though exceptions remain. With the government giving tax relief and loans to film production houses, a new hope for change swept the industry.
It must be reiterated that banning a book/film is not a good idea. Creating an alternative ecosystem that can take on the dominant Left-Liberal ecosystem is needed. That can only happen when we keep our critics near us instead of driving them out. At the same time, we must professionalize the Union cabinet by inducting MPs like Subramanian Swamy, Swapan Dasgupta, Baijayant Panda, Rajeev Chandrasekhar in the cabinet and giving important posts to well wishers like Rajiv Malhotra , Makarand Paranjape, etc. We must unite all like minded people aggressively. If the Left and Liberals could successfully shed their egos and unite their supporters everywhere and set them to work against Conservatives, there is no reason why Conservatives cannot do the same.
About the author: Sauro Dasgupta is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India.  He is interested in reading, writing, public speaking, History, Politics and Strategic Affairs and almost 120 writings have been published in many important magazines, journals and newspapers. He is a regular contributor to leading publications like Khamma News Agency, The Telegraph, The Diplomatist, The Statesman, Times of India NIE, The Shillong Times, Sikkim Express, OpIndia, The Kootneeti, The Columnist, Lokmannya, Elixir, The Viyug, etc. He can be contacted at [email protected]

You may also like

Leave a Comment


Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


©2023 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Hosted by eManipur!

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.