There was a lot of speculation this week over Amitabh Bachchan's supposed patch-up with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, but the Hindi film megastar says that he attended the function for the benefit of the unsung heroes of the filmdom.
Big B and Thackeray apparently had a fall-out after the latter accused the megastar of becoming the "brand ambassador" of Uttar Pradesh. In a later incident, when Jaya Bachchan at a music function had expressed her comfort level with the Hindi language instead of Marathi, Thackeray had made scathing comments on her linguistic preference.
Now five years later, Big B and Raj Thackeray came together for a function Monday to commemorate seven years of MNS's movie industry wing - Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena (MNCKS) - at the Shanmukhanand Hall in central Mumbai.
After the function, Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi alleged that Amitabh sharing the dais with Thackeray was an "insult" to north Indians.
Speaking on the supposed rapprochement, Big B said: "I attended a function that paid respect to the hitherto-neglected faces of the film industry, the workers! Very little is ever known about them. The world never sees them or is aware of their contribution. They work tirelessly behind the scenes and are responsible in equal measure for the final outcome of any of our products."
The Big B said he welcomes any effort to better the financial conditions of the film industry's work force. "In a profession as fickle as ours, the security that these workers need for their future is something that requires attention. Many efforts have been made in the past by both institutions and individuals. Any design to take greater care for them is always welcome. The MNCKS has put together an instrument of insurance for these workers. Such a noble cause shall always have my endorsement," said the 71-year-old.