"I see a conspiracy to defame Bachchan, who is the last king (Shahenshah) of Bollywood," Thackeray, a close friend of the megastar, said in today's editorial of the Sena mouthpiece Saamana and also sought Bharat Ratna for Bachchan.
At the same time, Thackeray dubbed Shah Rukh as "self-proclaimed Nishan-e-Pakistan".
Taking a dig at Shah Rukh -- who had earned Thackeray's wrath for endorsing inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in the IPL -- the editorial said though Ra.One makers claimed a historic box office collection, reports were contrary.
A joke was doing the rounds that stocks of painkillers ran out on October 26 (when Ra.One released) and government had announced compensation for those who suffered due to the the film, it said.
"Even though it is difficult to say whether the smear campaign against Bachchan is linked to the failure of Shah Rukh's film, such things are not new to Bollywood," the Sena patriarch said.
Controversies are manufactured in Bollywood to attract audiences... The possibility of this being a reason to mentally harass Bachchan cannot be denied. I know Bachchan for several years... he is a megastar because of his simplicity, elegance, humane nature and because he is a nationalist to the core. Some people have taken the help of Twitter and Facebook to defame him," the editorial said.