The screening of the Hindi film 'Shootout at Wadala,' that released this Friday, has been indefinitely stopped in Ludhiana and in parts of the state since Sunday noon.
This follows a protest in Ludhiana by the members of Dr Ambedkar Ekta Mission, Punjab, and Bhartiya Valmeki Dharm Samaaj, who claim that a dialogue from the film is derogatory in context to Maharishi Valmiki.
According to Deepak Hans, president of the mission and a resident of Ludhiana, the film insults the vedic saint credited with writing the Ramayana.
Hans says, "A dialogue in the film says 'Har chor Valmiki nahi hota'. This is offensive to the saint. We have taken objection to it."
Hans watched the film in a local multiplex on Friday evening and approached the manager. The latter then agreed to discuss the matter with the senior management.
While the film saw a smooth run on Saturday, it was stopped in local theatres and multiplexes on Sunday. This was after members of the two organisations staged a protest outside Silver Arc Mall at noon, where the film was being screened at PVR Cinemas.
The protestors and representatives of the multiplex then went to the office of district commissioner, where, in the presence of advocate Harpreet Sandhu, a legal notice was served to the film's producer-director Sanjay Gupta on behalf of Lachhman Dravid, national director of Bhartiya Valmeki Dharm Samaaj. This action was taken was following a telephonic conversation between Sandhu and Sanjay Gupta.
The multiplexes, however, cry foul and argue that the demand to stop the film's screening is uncalled for. "They took objection to one dialogue. For all shows on Saturday, the dialogue was kept on mute. What was the need to stop the film and stage a protest?" questioned the multiplex's manager.
However, for safety of visitors, the multiplex stopped the film after the early morning and noon show. Other cinema halls followed suit across the city and gradually in parts of the state. "We ran the morning show. A meeting was then called at 1pm when we were told by the senior management to stop the screening from then on. This is to ensure safety and security of the visitors," said a manager at Wave Cinemas, Westend Mall.
SRS Cinemas too stopped the film after the 9:40am and 2:25pm show.
Overall, the film was being screened at Wave Cinemas (five shows) PVR Cinemas at Silver Arc Mall and Flamez Mall (five shows each); SRS Cinemas (seven shows); Cinepolis, MBD Neopolis (five shows each) and single-screen Laxmi theatre in city.
The managers add that the film was getting only a lukewarm response from the public. "This is because it is a film on gangsters, contains swear words and is full of bloodshed. It has a niche audience and is not attracting families. We have around 50 prior bookings for the day and we will refund the money," said the manager at Wave.
The film is a tale of the rise of the mob in Mumbai. Distributed in the state by Balaji Motion Pictures, the film stars Kangna Ranaut, John Abraham, Anil Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee, Tusshar Kapoor, Sonu Sood, Mahesh Manjrekar and Ronit Roy.