Mumbai: For Raj Thackeray the controversy over Wake Up Sid could not have come at a better time. In election season it's given Raj an issue on a platter, to once again help his image as the chief guardian of Marathi Asmita. And while the Sena and Congress are try to gain whatever remaining political mileage they can squeeze out of it, the man on the street is not amused.
"Any film made in the Hindi film industry referring to the city will only use the word Mumbai and nothing else!" Raj Thackery said at a rally about Karan Johar's film. The leader was quick to make the most of the situation and even used Karan Johar's apology to bolster his image as the defender of Marathi pride.
But, the responses on Karan's apology have come in quick, from both the Shiv Sena that sees Raj usurping its calling card and the Congress Chief Minister attempting to influence a political pot boiler.
Sanjay Raut, a Shiv Sena MP says, "If he wants to apologise he should apologise to all Maharashtrians not just one individual in particular."
On the other hand, Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra Chief Minister says, "What he has done is not in good taste. If he has done it for some political benefits or for promoting some political party, I've nothing to say. If at all he had any problem he should have gone to the police or the government."
But, producers and multiplex owners largely agree with Johar, that it makes business sense to be practical.
"Hypothetically speaking if these were our properties we would have also stopped showing the film. We have to consider the safety of our property and those within," says Vishal Kapoor, COO, Fun Cinemas
As comments come in from political leaders about Johar's apology, the common man also has something to say. While some agree with the Sena and feel Johar should have apologised to the people of Maharashtra as a whole, there are others who feel that the apology was not required since even Maharashtrians sometimes use the word 'Bombay'. Some also feel that the entire situation was created to gain political mileage.
Identity politics and insider versus outsider issue has dominated political agenda in Maharashtra for some time. Raj Thackeray's gain is the Sena' s loss, the party which actually spearheaded the cause of Marathi Manoos and its turf Mumbai is finding its agenda hijacked by its rival the MNS.
Whatever the take on the Wake Up Sid controversy, what it has clearly done is give Raj the upper hand.