Underworld gaining control of Bollywood, police warn

Police in Mumbai (Bombay), India have warned that an underworld gangster, Abu Salem, has attempted to extort money from at least 12 actors and actresses and has successfully defied attempts to crack down on his increasing hold on the Indian film industry. They said they are protecting film star Amrish Puri, who claims he was a object of extortion threats from Salem. Friday’s Times of India quoted one police source as saying, “Unless Salem himself is arrested, it will be impossible to curb his activities because he is able to get fresh recruits each time we eliminate one of his men in an encounter.” Salem is believed to be operating outside of the country. An Indian film producer told the newspaper, “We have little choice but to agree to Salem’s terms since we will be killed if we do not fall in line.” The Times also reported that Salem now controls international distribution of many Indian films through a frontman based in London.