Oops! It wasn't worth it
Deepak Tijori's Oops! caused cine fans gathered at the Sirifort Auditorium to break all barriers - literally. The premiere of the film (which had promised lots of flesh and sex) held yesterday saw the so-called fans storm the main entrance in a bid to get in first and grab the seats - which they managed to do after bringing down the doors.
Fortunately for all concerned no one was seriously hurt. The guard Babulal and the supervisor Samay Singh did sustain minor scratches because the door unhinged and fell on them.
But the act which left the organizers (the Cinemaya team) shell-shocked, the festival director Aruna Vasudev livid and director Deepak Tijori pleased as a punch apparently took place without much provocation. The 400-seater auditorium was more than half empty when "rowdy elements from Shahpur Jat" as Vasudev says, broke the queues and just ran into the auditorium. "Once inside, they were all quite calm. Their idea wasn't to disrupt the film at all, only to see it."
R K Sharma, Assistant Engineer, Maintainence, Siri Fort, and also responsible for the security provided in the complex maintains, "that the trouble began after a group of 10-12 boys from Shahpur Jat misbehaved with a girl who was standing in front of them in the queue. As the crew went in, the girl too rushed in followed by the boys and the crowd. Things had spiralled out of control before we could react." Says Vasudev, "We were expecting a crowd, not a mob. The security (two male guards and one female guard) just could not control the crowds."
Vasudev blames the film's publicity promos for the pandemonium. "I selected the film after watching it in Mumbai because it discusses serious issues. I'd never had picked it up if it had been only on the male strippers. It was the publicity promos which sent out the wrong signals to everyone," she adds.
Something that Sharma concurs with, but goes a step further, "The organizers failed to mention that they were expecting such huge numbers or that the crew of the film would also be landing up. Usually, festival screenings do not attract huge crowds. Plus, more than the required number of free passes had been given and that also caused crowds to swell up."
The act almost led the Siri Fort administration to cancel the show. But the Cinefan team couldn't have risked it. "We told them if the show was cancelled there'd be a riot," says Vasudev.
Adds Noopur Nagpal of Bang On Target PR, responsible for the publicity of the festival, "The crowd had begun to form lines two hours prior to the show - scheduled for 7.30 p.m.. The queue went up all the way to the main road. In fact, the 5.30 p.m. screening was cancelled to make arrangements for the cast and crew." The idea had been to allow the festival delegates and film crew in first and then let the crowds come in, but obviously that didn't happen.
Unique Security which manages security arrangements at the Siri Fort complex posts 31 guards round-the-clock to ensure that "no anti-social element walks in. The checking of the passes, technically, is the responsibility of the organizers. We check the entry passes in the odd concert only," says Sharma.
At the end of it all, the only ones who were left panting with excitement were the cast of Oops! which included starlet Mink, newcomers Kiran Janjani and Vikas Sethi along with the veteran Mita Vashisht. In fact, Tijori had the audacity to congratulate the crowd for its behaviour. "Thank you Delhi, for the response," he exulted while introducing his team prior to the screening, "We're very happy that you've broken doors because that shows you want to see more films like these and that more such films should be made."
He needn't have bothered though, for lots could be said about Oops! itself, not the least of which is - that the mob needn't have taken the trouble at all. It wasn't worth it.