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Without artists, anarchy would have gripped nation: Raj Thackeray

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Pune: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said he was thankful to all the artists for ensuring that anarchy did not grip the country, as people remained engaged in their works.

Thackeray was speaking Sunday night after felicitating veteran actor Ashok Saraf, at the concluding session of ‘Ashok Parva’, a special program organised by city-based Ravetkar Group, with support from Rajesh Damle’s Abhivyakti, to celebrate 50-year-cinematic journey of Ashok Saraf, at the Yashwantrao Chavan auditorium in Kothrud.

Saraf was presented with a special citation and a memento to mark the occasion in the presence of award-winning Marathi actor Prashant Damle, Nivedita Saraf, Amol Ravetkar, Director, Ravetkar Group and Rajesh Damle.

“What would have happened in our lives, had there been no artists. All the actors, directors, painters, artists, poets, musicians, singers, had they not been there, then what would have happened? If all these people would not have been there, anarchy would have gripped our country. People got involved in their work and hence all the wrong things got ignored. The country did not go in a wrong direction and the credit goes to the artists,” Thackeray said, highlighting the importance of art and artists in our lives.

Thackeray was also effusive in his praise for Ashok Saraf, saying the veteran actor had his impact on every cinema and theatre-play he acted in, irrespective of the other cast.

Saying that he has always respected Ashok Saraf as an actor, the MNS chief pointed out that it was wrong to label Ashok Saraf as a “comedy actor”.

“Had Ashok Saraf been in the south, he would have been a Chief Minister. The importance of artists can be understood only when you visit foreign countries. Had Saraf been in any European country then the country’s prime minister would have come for his felicitation,” he said.

Ashok Saraf thanked the audience for showing unabated love for all these years and said he was honoured to get felicitated from Raj Thackeray, whom he admired.

Nivedita Saraf said Ashok Saraf, along with being a veteran actor, is a good son, husband, father and friend.

Earlier, Ashok Saraf recalled his journey in a free-wheeling interaction with award-winning actor Prashant Damle.

Saraf recalled several anecdotes from his career including from his early days an actor, to his involvement in films like ‘Dhoomdhadaka’, ‘Ek Daav Bhutacha’ among others and how he said no to role in Marathi drama ‘Gela Madhav Kunikade’, which was later offered to Prashant Damle and became immensely popular.

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