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Padmaavat row: tension and hesitance among Gujarat cinema owners

As Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus ‘Pdamaavat’ is nearing the release date, tension is still mounting amongst the makers of the film.

Despite actor Akshay Kumar has pushed back the 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 the assurance of security by the police department.

On Thursday the police assured that protection will be given to the cinemas screening ‘Padmaavat’. The Karni Sena in Gujarat appealed for peace, but the owners of multiplexes and single screen cinemas across Gujarat remain divided on whether they should screen the film on the day of the release which is on January 25th.

READ ALSO: ‘Padmaavat’ Row: 30 Bikes set ablaze, vehicles damaged

On Monday Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said after a protest indulged in arson in Surat city a before that no one will be spared and those behind the whole conspiracy will be arrested and will be taken strict action. The Am Police Commissioner Satish Sharma has already passed orders to book offenders found in violent acts, under section 308 that deals with an attempt to commit culpable homicide. 22 owners of the cinema halls were present out of 25 in the meeting with the District Collector, but out of them, only 8 owners showed courage to screen the film on the date of the release.

An owner from Surat city said, “We have still not taken any decision on screening the movie seeing the aggression and protest from Karni Sena activists. We will think and talk to our counterparts in Baroda and Ahmedabad. If they will decide to show the movie, then we will also show it in Surat.”

District Collector Patel said, “The state government is firm with the decision to screen the movie, and now it is up to to the cinema hall owners whether they will show Padmaavat or not. We have assured them all possible police protection if they demand… We have met some of the members of Karni Sena. They told us that they will protest if the movie is released. They will sit on dharna outside the Mamlatdar office in different talukas and protest.”

“We are not screening the movie till we are sure that there will be no problem or violence. We are holding meetings on the matter and monitoring the issue. No multiplex in Ahmedabad is screening the film as of today,” said Manu Patel, president of Ahmedabad Multiplex Association.

READ ALSO: Padmaavat in deep trouble again

Rashmikant Bhalodia, president of a single-screen association of Gujarat, said, “It is an individual choice. The association does not dictate anything in this matter. As far as I am concerned, I am not going to screen the movie.”

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 favor of Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Surat Police Commissioner Sharma said, “We have found that the incidents were pre-planned… Even after our warning if such incidents take place again, our policemen will not keep patience in dealing with them.”

Desai said, “The police were trying to ease the situation in these areas and were trying to bring it back to normal.” Mehsana SP Chaitanya Mandlik said, “We are ready to help them out whenever they need police help.”

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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