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Everyone is scared: Gujarat theatre owners refuse to screen Deepika Padukone’s Padmaavat

Multiplex owners in Gujarat have decided not to screen the film Padmaavat for fear of vandalism following threats by groups led by the Karni Sena.

bollywood Updated: Jan 21, 2018 10:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Padmaavat,Deepika Padukone,Karni Sena
Muzaffarpur: Karni Sena members protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Padmaavat near Jyoti Cinema Hall in Muzaffarpur.(PTI)

Multiplex owners in Gujarat have decided not to screen the film Padmaavat for fear of vandalism following threats by groups led by the Karni Sena.

Despite the Supreme Court staying notifications by four states - Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat – on Thursday to ban the release Padmaavat and the Gujarat Police asking multiplex owners about their security requirements, the latter are clearly running scared.

“We have decided not to screen the movie in whole of Gujarat. Everyone is scared, No multiplex wants to bear the loss. Why will we bear the loss?” said Rakesh Patel, director, Gujarat multiplex association.

Gandhinagar: Members of Sri Rajput Karni Sena shout slogans during a massive protest rally against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie Padmaavat. (PTI)

A day after actor Akshay Kumar pushed back date of his big release PadMan to give Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat a free run at the box office, theatre owners developed cold feet despite assurance of security by the police department.

“On Friday, we had a meeting with police department which has asked us to provide us details on our security requirement. But at the same time, not one or two, but the number of protesting groups has swelled to 10. All of them have been making frequent visits to multiplexes across the state and have warning us for consequences if the film will be screened,” Patel said.

Karni Sena and others have formed an umbrella of Gujarat Kshatriya Samaj, which have warned against the release of the film. On Saturday, these fringe groups allegedly blocked highways by burning tyres in Surendranagar, Bhavnagar, and Banaskantha districts.

Gandhinagar: Members of Sri Rajput Karni Sena shout slogans during a massive protest rally against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie Padmaavat. (PTI)

The multiplex owners described the situation as more threatening than what it was for Amir Khan starrer Fanaa, which was also not allowed to run in Gujarat following actor’s remarks in favour of Narmada Bachao Andolan.

“These groups are adding to their strength every day. The number of groups and those supporting them to stop Padmaavat’s release are only adding up by each day. In such scenarios, despite the police department ready to provide security cover, only theatre owners will be at loss in case of untoward incidents,” Patel said.

The theater owners also believe that movie is unlikely to get big opening as threats by the protesting groups were likely to discourage viewers.

Amber cinema, single screen theatre in Jamnagar which took the risk to screen Fanaa, ran into trouble after a man immolated himself inside theatre’s toilet to register his protest.

Gujarat has around 125 multiplexes. Various Rajput and Kshatriya groups have been protesting against the release of the Padmaavat. The film is said to be based on a work of fiction by a sufi poet. But Rajput groups have been alleging that movie portrays queen Padmini’s character in an improper way and hurts the sentiments of the community.

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First Published: Jan 20, 2018 16:21 IST