Amid controversy, a Bathinda cinema hall has agreed to run MSG, the film starring Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, head of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, which is scheduled for its Punjab release on January 16.
Amid opposition from Sikh bodies, single-screen cinemas and multiplexes are still weighing the risk in running the film, but the local Ajaib Cinema has decided to run it.
The dera people had initially talked to the owners of Sukhraj Cinema here, who had reportedly given their consent, but, later they backed out.
Narinder Goyal, member, district-level committee of the dera, said, "According to my knowledge, Sukhraj Cinema was finalised for screening the film. I am hearing it from you that now it will be screened at Ajaib Cinema."
Both cinemas have the traditional single screens and are situated on Bathinda-Goniana road. Like many other traditional theatres in Punjab, both are not in good shape and often run B-grade films.
The cinema hall was decided on Friday, but the posters of MSG have already been put up by the dera in parts of Malwa. Incidents of tearing off of posters, allegedly by Sikh bodies, have also been reported. The Akal Takht and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee have demanded that the film be banned.
The premiere of the film, which is yet to be passed by the censor, will be held at Gurgaon on January 11; for this the dera has invited politicians, bureaucrats and police officials of the Malwa region.
Satpal, film contractor, who has hired Ajaib Cinema for the screening, said, "We will run the film to seek profit. It has not been cleared by the censor board yet. The film will be run only if it gets cleared."
When asked if they would demand security to run the film, Satpal said, "We are required to seek permission from the deputy commissioner to run any film. We will ask him in this case also and run it only if the DC allows us."
There are three multiplexes in Bathinda. Mutiplex officials said the decision to run a film is taken by the chain at the headquarters level; and no decision had been taken so far in this regard.