Mafia Calls

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When it comes to the underworld and film industry nexus, Bangalore is no exception. Even if not to the extent that it exists in Mumbai, the underworld dictates terms to producers, feel some belonging to the industry here as well as city police officers. “Even in Gandhinagar, people connected with the underworld directly or indirectly provide finance to film production at a higher rate of interest.

Later, they resort to arm twisting tactics to recover the dues,” a police officer said. He added that a few years back a film producer, Chidambara Shetty, was murdered when he failed to repay dues on time. Last year, four rowdies were arrested by the Upparpet police when they tried to abduct a film producer to settle a financial transaction. Reacting to this, Ramu, producer of big-budget Kananda films like AK 47, Lock-up Death and Simhada Mari said, “Cinema is a creative field. If the underworld interferes, we will not be able to do a good job. The film world’s connection with the underworld in Bangalore is not as precarious as it is in Mumbai though I have heard about some connections at a smaller level.

” The mafia involves itself with film production in various stages from providing finance, making artistes sign for their favourite producers, arranging infrastructure to produce films and also getting a theatre located strategically to screen the film. Financiers use underworld elements if a producer fails to return the money in time, the sources said. Funding by banks and financial institutions to make films is the only answer to check this dangerous combination, opined P. Krishna Raju, general secretary of the producer’s association.

“Though the Union government, a few months back accepted to give the industry status to the film industry, response from the banks in providing loans to film producers against guarantee is not encouraging. They always have a discriminatory attitude towards the film industry,” he added.

Small producers who desperately need money to bring out their movies fall prey to such machinations by taking money at higher rates of interest from sources linked to the underworld. Under tremendous pressure, some have even been known to sell their property and jewellery to clear debts.

“One has to be extremely careful while taking money from dubious elements,” says Krishna Raju. About the nexus and underworld’s control over the film industry, the city police maintain, “Prompt action has been taken whenever there is a complaint against illegal activities and we encourage complaints from the film industry,” said ACP Chickpet G.A. Bawa in whose jurisdiction the film industry headquarters, Gandhinagar, falls.

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