The other side of Bollywood

June 1, 2011

The relationship between Bollywood and the criminal world has always been a controversial one. The world’s biggest film industry has often struggled to rid itself of allegations that all is not above board when it comes to financing its films.

Ever since the murder of “cassette king” Gulshan Kumar in 1997 and the Pandora’s box it opened up, Bollywood has feared that some of the money that goes into the industry may be tainted.

In the following years, the charges faced by music director Nadeem, the conviction and subsequent acquittal of film financier Bharat Shah, who was accused of aiding underworld activities, only added to the shadow of doubt around the industry.

Actors complained of receiving threats from mafia gangs, allegations were made that the underworld was financing several films and actor Sanjay Dutt even went to jail in connection with a bomb blasts case.

The last few years may have brought some relief with the entry of corporates and studios but the recent arrest of Karim Morani of Cineyug puts Bollywood monies in the spotlight again.

Morani, one of Bollywood’s foremost event managers and a personal friend of several stars, was held in connection with the 2G scam case.

Morani, who has organised several Bollywood stage shows, has been charged with handling bribes in a telecoms licensing scandal that may have deprived the government of $39 billion in potential revenue.

A day after the arrest, Shah Rukh Khan said his personal equation with Morani wouldn’t change despite the arrest, but it did seem he was worried.

Morani is an executive producer on Khan’s ambitious home production “Ra. One”.

“I hope he is out and everything is quelled before the film releases,” the actor said. “But we are all law-abiding citizens and the law must take its own course.”

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