NCP MP and actor Amol Kolhe accuses cops of seeking free passes
Alleges policemen in Pimpri-Chinchwad threatened to shut down his show on Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, demands enquiry by Deputy CM Fadnavis; uploads sting video
Amol Kolhe, the actor and Member of Parliament from the Nationalist Congress Party representing Shirur in the Lok Sabha, is again in the eye of a storm.
A year ago, he had been in trouble with his own party for playing Nathuram Godse, Mahatma Gandhi's assassin, in the OTT film 'Why I Killed Gandhi'. His own party men had threatened nationwide protests if the film was released on the OTT platform.
He got around it by explaining to his party president Sharad Pawar that he had signed the film in 2017, long before he had thought he would ever become an MP from the NCP. It was just another role for him, and he did not believe in the RSS ideology, he told Pawar, who ended the controversy.
Now he has clashed with the police in Pimpri-Chinchwad. This industrial township falls in the parliamentary constituency of Baramati, the Pawars' home turf, currently represented by his daughter Supriya Sule in the Lok Sabha.
Kolhe has alleged that the cops threatened to shut down his latest play on Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the son of Chhatrapati Dhivaji Maharaj, who Moghul emperor Aurangzeb brutally killed. The play has been running to packed houses across theatres in Maharashtra, including Nashik, Kolhapur, Karad, Aurangabad and even Nippani, a Marathi-speaking border town in the Belgaum district of Karnataka.
Tickets to the play cost ₹300 per person.
Kolhe has alleged that the Pimpri-Chinchwad police threatened to shut down his play if he did not give them free passes to the show. He has demanded that deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, also home minister, look into the matter and pull up the corrupt cops.
"They threatened me saying, 'If you don't give us free tickets, we shall see how your show goes on'," Kolhe told an audience gathered in the Pimpri-Chinchwad theatre this evening, with folded hands from the stage.
"In Nashik, the police commissioner bought tickets for 2,500 police personnel and their families. The shows are going house full because parents are bringing their children to acquaint them with the story of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj. My humble request to the Maharashtra police is: do not tarnish your glorious image. You fought terrorists on 26/11, and many sacrificed their lives during Covid. Do not allow that image to be soiled. Every person who has bought a ticket here has paid his or her taxes. It is those taxes that pay the salaries of the policemen. So why do they now want free tickets?" he asked, saying he would not name the cops who threatened to shut down his show.
However, he later posted a video of his confrontation with the policemen on his Twitter handle.
“ Honestly, I want to tell you that the show has had a very good response in Nashik, Aurangabad, Nippani, Kolhapur and Karad where police fully support the performance. I am not against the policeman (who demanded free tickets) but against the mindset of policemen demanding freebies. The police uniform one is wearing is that of responsibility, and the police must consider that duty. Come onto the stage and see for yourself how difficult and painstaking the efforts taken by the artists for the show," Kolhe added.
So far, neither Fadnavis nor the police administration has responded to the allegations.