Forty cops per cinema, plain-clothes securitymen and bouncers at screenings — Delhi cinema halls saw an unprecedented security for the release of My Name Is Khan. On Thursday night, Shiv Sena members pelted stones at a hall in JanakPuri. Fun Cinemas in Lakshmi Nagar too received threatening calls against the film’s screening.
But Delhi’s cinema halls refused to buckle under pressure. “Yes, a set of people threw stones and broke the window panes, but we are not scared. We have increased the security. We have 40 policemen deployed at each of our properties and 5-6 inside the halls in civil dress,” said Jayender Bannerjee of Satyam Cineplex.
Screenings continue at Fun Cinemas, too. “We did receive calls, but then we got the adequate security. We have 40-50 policemen around each hall and 5-10 bouncers inside the properties,” said Deepak Taluja of the multiplex.
Amitava Vardhan of PVR Cinemas said the “booking is superb”. Spice Cinemas in Noida, which is running 21 shows of the film per day, ran houseful through Friday. Tickets were also being sold in black. On Friday morning, protesters gathered outside Delite Cinema shouting slogans condemning the Shiv Sena. “We’re in favour of Shah Rukh and his film. Shiv Sena ne is film par rajneeti ki hai sirf TRPs ke liye,” said Javed of the theatre.
The incident has strengthened Delhi’s resolve to stand by Mumbai. Nishant Tyagi wrote on Twitter, “I plan to see MNIK twice — once for myself and once for Mumbai.” Dhruv Chauhan posted, “I wasn’t going to watch My Name Is Khan. I will change my mind for spirit of India.”
At the time of going to the press, cinema halls in Mumbai had started screening MNIK amid security.
1000 Euro tickets for Shah Rukh’s movie in Berlin
Tickets for My Name Is Khan were sold out in five seconds at the Berlin International Film Festival. Fans had not slept all night to keep their places in the queue despite the sub-zero temperature in Berlin. Those who arrived at 6 am were in tears. Khan’s friends who phoned the Berlinale authorities five minutes after ticketing opened were told they were way too late. The film’s tickets were auctioned on e-Bay for 1,000 euros (about Rs 60,000) each.