Protests force cancellation of Dilwale, Bajirao Mastani shows | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Protests force cancellation of Dilwale, Bajirao Mastani shows

While Dilwale earned the agitators’ ire due to a statement made by its lead actor, Shah Rukh Khan, on the purported intolerance in India, Bajirao Mastani was targeted by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Pune because it allegedly distorted history to show Maratha general Bajirao Ballal Bhat in a bad light.

bollywood Updated: Dec 18, 2015 18:38 IST
HT Correspondent
Several shows of Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani were cancelled on Friday after protests against actor SRK and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Several shows of Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani were cancelled on Friday after protests against actor SRK and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Cinema-goers across the country expected to witness a long-awaited showdown between two big movies - Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani - on Friday. But they were sorely disappointed when the films opened to protests – resulting in some of the shows getting cancelled.

While Dilwale earned the agitators’ ire due to a statement made by its lead actor, Shah Rukh Khan, on the purported intolerance in India, Bajirao Mastani was targeted by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Pune because it allegedly distorted history to show Maratha general Bajirao Ballal Bhat in a bad light.

Read: Dilwale review

Protests against Dilwale – starring SRK and Kajol – were held at Dadar in Central Mumbai by right-wing group Hindu Sena, which criticised the Bollywood superstar for allegedly promoting the film in Pakistan. Agitators also attempted barging into the Nakshatra Multiplex, but were stopped by the police.

Read: Bajirao Mastani review

“Pakistan is busy killing our soldiers and here we have Shah Rukh Khan promoting the film on Pakistani TV shows. How can we allow such a person to screen his movie in India?” asked Hindu Sena state president Santosh Yadav. The group also objected to Khan’s recent statement on “intolerance”, stating that it showed his anti-India bias.

Hindu Sena activists burn posters of actors Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan after the release of SRK's Dilwale in Lucknow on Friday. (PTI)

Khan had stated last month that “religious intolerance” and “not being secular” were among the worst kinds of crime that can be committed. The actor had also said that he would be willing to return his awards as a symbolic gesture of protest, in line with artistes before him.

However, Khan apologised for his comments earlier this week, stating that he didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s sentiments.

The agitation against Dilwale assumed more serious proportions at a multiplex in a Jabalpur mall, where Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) activists burnt movie posters and created a ruckus – forcing the theatre-owners to cancel the shows.

Hindu Rashtriya Sena activists blacken a poster of actor Shah Rukh Khan during a protest against the screening of Dilwale near a mall in Mumbai on Friday. (PTI)

“Those who talk of intolerance in India and leaving the country should live in Pakistan. Why should we watch their movies? Also, Shah Rukh Khan’s apology didn’t sound (like it was) a true apology. He sounded arrogant,” BJYM leader Sonu Bachhani told HT during the protest at Samdariya Mall.

Dehradun in Uttarakhand also witnessed protests against the movie, when volunteers of the Yuva Sena protested against the screening of the movie outside a cinema hall on Chakrata Road. However, the police intervened and the agitators were whisked away from the scene in a police truck.

In Bihar, the anti-Dilwale agitation found a face in the Bajrang Dal, which prevented two theatres from screening the movie. Sources said activists burnt Khan in effigy outside movie halls in Araria and Patna districts.

Read: Bajirao Mastani shows cancelled in Pune after protests

The protests against Bajirao Mastani, which stars Ranveer Singh as Bajirao and Deepika Padukone as the Rajput-Muslim princess Mastani of Bundelkhand, were mostly confined to Pune in Maharashtra. BJP activists allegedly forced ‘Citypride’ cinema house to cancel all shows of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film.