Amid bans in three states, filmmaker Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan released on Friday to response which ranged from sluggish to decent and continued to divide opinion.
More demands poured in to ban the film, which deals with reservation, even as Jha moved the Supreme Court against the ban on his film in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. The court will hear his plea on Tuesday.
Punjab indicated it was ready to lift the ban on screening of the movie if changes were made in certain scenes and dialogues.
Controversy has dogged film over fears that it may hurt sentiments of weaker sections of the society.
The Centre ruled out intervening in the matter. Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni said, “I am fully with the decision of the Censor Board... My ministry has no role nor can it intervene.”
Multiplex chains and theatre owners said the audience response was favourable in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. In Mumbai, theatres reported 45 to 50 % occupancy. “But we would rather look at the positive side. Since it’s a long weekend, audiences are holding up to turn up in the coming days,” said Rahul Singh, senior vice-president, PVR Cinemas.
In Kolkata, the spokesperson of Fame Multiplex said, “About 40 to 45% of our theatre was full in the daytime. As the rains receded the occupancy went up to 70 to 75%.”
After watching the film, BN Singh of Patna said: “More than reservation, it’s the commercialisation of education that has been highlighted.”
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad demanded an immediate ban on screening of the movie. Similar ban demands came from the Haryana Valmiki Mahasabha, Gujjars in Jammu and Kashmir and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, a dalit group in Tamil Nadu.
(With inputs from agencies)