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Hindi Film Shoot Halted Over ‘Illegal’ Dancers

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A Bollywood film starring screen legend Amitabh Bachchan was disrupted in Mumbai on Tuesday after a political party protested against the use of foreign dancers.

Members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) forced shooting of the action movie “Bbuddha” to stop, claiming that 40 overseas artistes were performing without valid work permits.

The group barged onto the set in central Mumbai and told the crew to stop filming, said the party’s film wing head Amey Khopkar.

“We will not allow foreign workers if they don’t have proper work documents. This is illegal as they are violating law,” he told AFP.

Bachchan made no immediate mention of the incident on his Twitter feed or blog. The Press Trust of India news agency quoted a senior Mumbai police officer as saying that they were checking the dancers’ documents.

Foreign performers are increasingly being used in Hindi-language Bollywood for the industry’s trademark lavish song-and-dance routines.

The MNS is an offshoot of the right-wing Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena, which has an often violent track record of protesting against migrant workers in Mumbai and Maharashtra state. Like the Sena, MNS champions the culture, language and rights of ordinary Maharashtrians over so-called “outsiders”, mostly north Indians who flock to Mumbai and the state in search of employment.

Bachchan, from northern Uttar Pradesh state, has had run-ins with the MNS in the past, including in September 2008 when his actress-turned-politician wife, Jaya, said she preferred speaking Hindi to the local language, Marathi.

MNS leader Raj Thackeray at the time called for supporters to boycott Bachchan and other members of Bollywood’s “first family”. Mud and stones were also thrown at billboards promoting Bachchan’s film “The Last Lear”
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