Though the film MSG-2: The Messenger, starring Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, has not been banned in Punjab like his debut movie, Dera followers did not get to see the film at many places across the state on Friday. The film was released in only a handful of cinema halls with most not willing to take the risk of screening it in view of the call for its ban by various Sikh outfits.
No cinema hall in Bathinda, the hub of Dera activities in Punjab with its state headquarters at Salabatpura in the district, screened the movie. The film is not on the schedule of three of the multiplexes in the city for the next week either. Single-screen theatres also did not show the film. Movie posters of the film were pasted at a single-screen theatre, Pukhraj, in Bathinda indicating that it might screen the film. The cinema managers, however, said only posters have been put up and they have no plans to show the film.
However, MSG-2 producer CP Arora claimed a tie-up with all major multiplexes -- including PVR Cinema, Big Cinema, Satyam Cinema and Fun Cinema -- for screening the movie. Dera spokesperson Aditya Insaan said the movie was being released like any other film, including in Punjab.
In Chandigarh, the film has the maximum number of shows - seven in a day -- but there are no late night ones. In Ludhiana, PVR Pavillion has only two shows of the film. In Jalandhar, the only show was withdrawn. There is no show of the film in Amritsar, Patiala, Mohali and Sangrur.
Gurdev Singh, a member of the state-level committee of Dera followers in Punjab, alleged that cinema houses were willing to screen the film but they were being threatened by the district administration.
No ban on film in Mansa
A day after the Punjab and Haryana high court asked the Punjab government and others to file their response to the petition of the makers of MSG-2: The Messenger, challenging the Mansa district order of a ban on the movie's screening, the government clarified that it had been a mistake and that the order had been withdrawn.
Read: HC junks plea to ban MSG-2