Theatre owners not to release Padmaavat in R'sthan, Bihar fearing vandalism

Theatre owners not to release Padmaavat in R'sthan, Bihar fearing vandalism

Discretion is the better part of valour seems to be the approach of theatre owners in Rajasthan and Bihar, who have decided against screening the controversial film Padmaavat despite a Supreme Court diktat and police promise of protection.

The film is slated for release on January 25.

The decision by the Rajasthan film distributors' association comes after various fringe groups threatened to burn down cinema halls that screen the movie. Earlier, a movie hall in Kota was vandalised just for showing the trailers of the movie.

"Karni Sena has given us an ultimatum  against  releasing the film in cinema halls even if the government allows. We have decided not to screen because protestors will vandalise our cinema halls and security of people will be compromised," a film distributor told DH.
 
Jaipur Police Commissioner Sanjay Agarwal said, "We are ready to give security cover to the cinema hall owners in case the film is screened in Rajasthan."  
 
Police on toes
 
Hours after the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the state's plea against the film, Rajasthan Police geared up to deal with likely law and order issues. Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said, "There is no way out but to ensure law and order. And this will remain our priority."
 
Amid protests against the release, Additional Director General (Law and Order) N R K Reddy said, "We have directed all SPs in 33 districts to stay alert. The film is releasing on the eve of Republic Day and also coincides with the five-day Jaipur Literature Festival starting on January 25."

In Bihar...

Even though the Nitish Kumar regime in Bihar has not taken a stand whether it will allow release of Padmaavat or not,   theatre owners have decided not to screen Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum opus.

The decision comes in the wake of a threat issued by Karni Sena of "dire consequences" if the cinema hall owners "made even a feeble attempt to screen the movie."

The first evidence of complete surrender before Karni Sena was when Cinepolis, on Tuesday cancelled all the advance bookings. The popular movie theatre in Prakash Jha's mall in Patna refunded the money to 50 movie buffs who had booked tickets for Friday.

Similar reports poured in from Purnia, Gaya and Bhagalpur, where the Karni Sena activists have warned the cinema hall owners to face the music if they decided to abide by the apex court directive.

"Keeping in mind the emotions of Rajputs, it will be better if the theatre owners in the State voluntarily opt for not screening the controversial movie," said Dhirendra Singh, state president of Karni Sena.

Row in Gujarat

The Rajput community in Gujarat continued to demand a ban on screening   Padmaavat.

"The chief ministers of more than eight states had expressed security  concerns  if the movie is released. The Supreme Court would have considered all the aspects but our opposition to the release continues," Lokendrasinh Kalvi, head of the Rajput Karni Sena, told mediapersons in Rajkot.

"I request movie hall owners to announce a curfew and not screen the movie. I also appeal to people to cooperate. If you are so keen to watch the movie, it will be available on Internet," he said.

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the state government was bound by Supreme Court ruling to provide adequate security but urged the people to boycott the movie on their own and help maintain law and order in the state.

United fight

 
Earlier in the day, members of various communities from Rajkot, including Rajput, Patidaar and Bohara community, came together under the banner of Padmaavat Sangharsh Samiti, to oppose the release.

Even Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel has jumped into the fray and written to the chief minister against release of Padmaavat.

Protest blockades were reported from North Gujarat, Saurashtra, Central Gujarat and Surat in South Gujarat. Several groups burnt tyres and caused traffic jams on the highways and it was only after intervention by local police could the vehicular traffic be resumed.

The state transport department said that it had lost over Rs 2 crore due to stoppage of services as well as arson. The operations to several places in North Gujarat continued to be suspended for second day, causing inconvenience to travellers.

Owners of nine multiplexes in Ahmedabad decided not to screen the movie. Rakesh Patel, an owner of cineplexes in Ahmedabad, Mehsana and Dehgam said that neither he nor nine other multiplexes would screen the movie due to "security concerns".  

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