How Chavan saved the day | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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How Chavan saved the day

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan averted a serious political setback on Friday by ensuring My Name Is Khan released on schedule.

mumbai Updated: Feb 13, 2010 01:29 IST
HT Correspondent

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan averted a serious political setback on Friday by ensuring My Name Is Khan released on schedule.

Sources in the state secretariat Mantralaya said a tense Chavan worked overtime on Thursday to get multiplexes and single-screen theatres to show the film.

“Chavan was under tremendous pressure from his Congress bosses in Delhi. They did not want the media to say that the government was not capable of handling the Shiv Sena, which is not as strong as it used to be five years ago,” an aide of Chavan said.

Actor Shah Rukh Khan is considered to be close to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, which put added pressure on Chavan.

Little wonder then that he bypassed Home Minister R.R. Patil and took control of police operations. It was he who ordered a crackdown on Sainiks and the withdrawal of the security of three Sena legislators who had participated in protests against Gandhi during his recent Mumbai visit.

Sources said the Chavan camp went into hyper-mode on Thursday evening as multiplex owners buckled under Sena pressure and decided not to show the film.

Chavan got the police to send a strong message to multiplexes that they would have to screen the movie, even with limited shows.

The idea was that a trouble-free release would encourage others to show the film, the sources added.

The idea worked and Chavan heaved a sigh of relief.

“It was not about a film; we wanted to send a message that no outfit can hold the city to ransom,” Chavan told Hindustan Times.

What if the Sena continues its violent protests over the weekend when more Mumbaiites would want to watch the film?

“As long as the protests are on, the police will be deployed at theatres,” Chavan said.