Despite rampage, Padmaavat a big draw in Chandigarh

Those in the movie exhibition business said this was probably the first time in the recent past for a film to be released at this scale in the tricity. 

punjab Updated: Jan 25, 2018 12:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Padmaavat,Padmaavat movie,Ranveer Singh
Policemen patrolling outside Piccadily Square mall at Sector 34 in Chandigarh.(Karun Sharma/HT)

Notwithstanding the spate of protests by fringe outfits in Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, multiplexes in the Chandigarh released Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film “Padmaavat” through at least 90 shows on Thursday.

Multiplexes on Wednesday evening reported receiving excellent response to online bookings, a day before the controversial film’s release, even as six preview shows were peacefully screened at five multiplexes.

Those in the movie exhibition business said this was probably the first time in the recent past for a film to be released at this scale in the tricity.

Facing protests by Karni Sena and other fringe outfits over allegations of historical facts having been distorted in the movie, the much-awaited film was finally cleared for a release earlier this month.

In the wake of protest rallies, road blockades and vandalism of vehicles in the four states, elaborate police arrangements, including deployment of 200 cops, have been made outside the movie theatres in Chandigarh.

At Mohali and Panchkula, the administrations have imposed Section 144 under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), prohibiting assembly of five or more people.

Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, “Padmaavat” is based on an epic poem by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi that tracks the story of Rani Padmini of Chittorh and how she and other Rajput women, performed jauhar after Alauddin Khilji invaded Chittorh fort.

Multiplexes at Panchkula resistant

Fearing violence, multiplexes in Panchkula did not open bookings for “Padmaavat”, even as the administration had prohibited assembly of five or more persons, to prevent any protest from local Rajput groups.

Rajhans Cinemas in Sector 5 even put up a poster at its box office window, informing the public that they were not playing the movie. Inox Cinemas at Amravati Enclave on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway followed suit.

Mayank Goyal of Inox Cinemas, said bookings for the movie were closed as of now. “We will review our decision on Thursday, if everything remains peaceful in the tricity after the movie’s release in Chandigarh and Mohali,” he added.

Earlier, leaders of the Rajputana Virasat Jagriti Manch gathered in Sector 5 for a protest. However, the police blocked the entry of their supporters at Raipur and Barwala, that have a considerable population of Rajputs. The group had held a protest rally against the movie in December too.

Manch president Bhoom Singh Rana said theatres and public should refrain from screening or watching the movie, as it insulted their community.

Deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Manbir Singh said the situation was completely under control. “Anyone violating the prohibitory order will be detained. We have also stepped up security in front of cinema halls to control any law and order problem,” he said.

Protesters block mall’s entry in Mohali

Members of Rajput Sangat on Wednesday staged a protest outside We are Punjab Mall against screening of the movie, prompting the district police to deploy cops in good strength in civies and uniform.

Supporters of the sangat protested by blocking the main gate of the mall, that screened preview shows of the movie before its official release on Thursday.

Mall’s vice-president Sachin Dhanawade said, “The movie is getting very good response from viewers. Almost 90% bookings have been done till Sunday.”

“Police authorities have made adequate security arrangements to ensure peaceful release of the movie on Thursday,” he added.

First Published: Jan 25, 2018 12:06 IST