No-show for Uri- The Surgical Strike movie in Bihar’s Purnia, irate locals suspect a conspiracy

Published on Jan 24, 2019 10:30 AM IST

“Cine lovers are continuously making calls to me for exhibiting the movie. But I am helpless as the distributors have not supplied me the prints,” said a theatre owner

A still from the film Uri — The Surgical Strike(HT File)
A still from the film Uri — The Surgical Strike(HT File)
Hindustan Times, Purnia | ByAditya Nath Jha

Deprived of watching the Indian army’s heroic deeds on the silver screen, cine lovers of north east Bihar have demanded a high-level probe into the denial of prints of 2019’s first Bollywood blockbuster, Uri — The Surgical Strike, to theatres of the region by the distributors.

The cine lovers have alleged a ‘deep rooted conspiracy’.

There are altogether 16 cinema theatres in Bihar’s Seemanchal and Kosi, which together have seven districts.

Released on January 11, Uri — The Surgical Strike has become the first film this year to enter the 100-crore club.

“Cine lovers are continuously making calls to me for exhibiting the movie. But I am helpless as the distributors have not supplied me the prints,” said a theatre owner, requesting not to be identified. He said that fed up with the frantic calls from cine lovers, he often switches his phone off as they know nothing about his helplessness and instead blame him for not showing the film.

Neeraj Kumar Singh, president of North Eastern Kosi Motion Pictures Association, also blamed the distributors based out of Kolkata for the chaos. “They haven’t given us any valid reason for not sending us the prints. We have reached out to them on more than one occasion, but to no avail. We cannot read what thought is going into their minds. Their denial to give us prints has certainly disappointed thousands of cine lovers.”

Distributors could not be contacted.

The film is based on the surgical strike conducted in 2016 by the Indian army against terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) in the aftermath of terror attack on the army unit in Uri that left 19 Indian soldiers dead.

BJP leaders, meanwhile, suspect the role of opposition parties, especially Congress and RJD, in the film’s blackout. They allege that since Kosi and Seemanchal are their stronghold, they might have used their influence to prevent the screening of film, which hails the surgical strike as an achievement of the NDA government at the centre.

“This is highly unfortunate and we want the film immediately be played in theatres or else we’ll be compelled to resort to agitation,” BJP leader Dilip Kumar Deepak said. “It could be handiwork of the so-called secular forces to appease a section of voters in the region.”

“The Nitish government should intervene into the matter,” said Mihir Vishwas and Divyendu, both students of a college in Purnia.

Senior RJD leader Kamal Kishore Yadav ridiculed the allegations as baseless. “Even we want to see the film. Instead of indulging in blame game, BJP leaders should take the trouble to speak to the distributors and find a solution. Their government is in power both at the Centre and in state,” he said.

Katihar DM Punam said, “We haven’t received any written complaint in this regard.”

Commissioner Kosi Safina AN, who is also in charge of Seemanchal, did not respond to calls.

The blackout

There are altogether 16 cinema theatres in Bihar’s Seemanchal and Kosi, which together have seven districts

Theatre owners say flooded with calls from cine lovers, but can’t help since they haven’t got prints despite requests

Neeraj Kumar Singh, president of North Eastern Kosi Motion Pictures Association, blames distributors in Kolkata

BJP blames Congress, RJD, threatens agitation

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