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Week of controversial releases

A CHASTE ethereal love story (Fanna) and an ancient Christian riddle (The Da Vinci Code), both mired in controversies for different reasons, were released in the cinema halls of Bhopal on Friday. However, the audience response did not quite match the pre-release hype of the two films.

india Updated: May 27, 2006 14:22 IST

A CHASTE ethereal love story (Fanna) and an ancient Christian riddle (The Da Vinci Code), both mired in controversies for different reasons,  were released in the cinema halls of Bhopal on Friday. However, the audience response did not quite match the pre-release hype of the two films.

The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, is in the eye of an international storm for having offended sentiments of the Christian community.

The racy novel condensed in a celluloid version has attracted protests from Catholic Churches Association of India. The association demanded ban on the movie, alleging that it is riddled with   numerous historical distortions. After being screened by the authorities the movie got the green signal but with some scissoring. 

There is a display (both in the beginning and the end) that all the characters in the movie are fictional. In Bhopal, the movie (Hindi dubbed version)  was released in Rambha.

Manager Rambha talkies, Avinash Gupta said the film had a  good response on the first day with  more than 70 per cent of the seats being occupied. The crowd was mixed with a larger chunk being teenagers.

Said Shruti, a college pass out, “There is nothing controversial in the film. Besides, it has been prominently displayed that all the characters are fictional to avoid possibility of causing hurt to Christians’ religious sentiments.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the movie till the end. I have read the book and find the movie to be a true reflection,” echoed Pravin. 

He, however admitted that the controversy raked up before the movie release could heighten its popularity graph. The movie continued despite intermittent power cuts in the cinema hall. The audience sat through the cuts in the sweltering heat, courtesy the movie’s ingenuity. The security was like any other days.

Yash Raj production’s Fanna was also dogged in pre-release controversy. If the Da Vinci Code has allegedly hurt a section of the Christian community, the protagonist of  Fanna, Aamir Khan is being targeted for having hurt Gujarat’s sentiments by his pro-Narmada Bachao Andolan stance.

After his refusal to apologise for the  pro-NBA statements, there was an unofficial ban on screening of the movie in Gujarat.

In Bhopal, Fanna was released in Sargam and Sangam. Both ran five shows, the first one beginning at 9.30 am. While the first show evoked a moderate response, the other shows ran almost houseful.

The response of the crowd that came out was by and large positive.  Leaving aside Aamir and his NBA  controversy, the other factor that  pulled the crowd was Kajol who has made a screen appearance after a nearly five-year hiatus.

“The movie has all the basic parameters for a hit. Kajol looks great after shedding off the flab,” said Neha, a Class XI student