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  Entertainment   Bollywood  20 Jan 2018  Theatres still jittery about Padmaavat

Theatres still jittery about Padmaavat

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jan 20, 2018, 12:02 am IST
Updated : Jan 20, 2018, 12:02 am IST

Despite the Supreme Court go ahead, the law and order situation has camp SLB and theatre owners still worried.

File photo of Karni Sena protesting against Padmaavat. (Photo: PTI)
 File photo of Karni Sena protesting against Padmaavat. (Photo: PTI)

After over a long painful year of vandals damaging film sets, death threats to the producers and the actors, accidents and struggle, Padmaavat is all set to release on January 25. Dodging one controversy after another, one would think that the filmmakers are heaving a sigh of relief, following the Supreme Court verdict that says the film can’t be banned by any state. Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan had initially banned the film from a release owing to “historical inaccuracies.”

However, the ground reality is far from being this uncomplicated, and the struggles of the filmmakers far from over. The notorious Karni Sena, the fringe group claiming to represent the Rajput community, is still openly issuing threats to not just individuals associated with the film but also to movie theatres that may screen the controversial movie.

 

Back at the Bhansalis’ residence, there is a similar cautious optimism surrounding the SC verdict banning the ban of the film. A source close to the filmmaker and his family says, “It’s great to hear the Supreme Court lift the ban. But will the states pay any heed to it? And more importantly, will the fringe groups go by the verdict?”

A similar quandary has movie theatres gripped as well. “Even if we overlook the threat and decide to release the film, screens that are in shopping malls will have a hard time because there are other patrons there other than the moviegoers. In fact, we are scared that these threats will scare away moviegoers altogether!” a manager of a leading multiplex shares his worry with us on the condition of anonymity.

 

Poster for Padmavati

Manoj Desai, executive director of theatres Gaiety Galaxy and Maratha Mandir Cinema in Mumbai, is sceptical about showing the film. “So far we haven’t received any circular related to police security for us. A film like Padmaavat will need enough police protection,” he laments. The worried theatre executive thinks that a release might not only be risky to the property but also to audiences. “If we don’t get police protection, we won’t be able to play the film at our theatres. Who is to say it will be safe for our patrons?” he questions, worried.

Agreeing with Manoj is film distributor Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Arts. “It’s quite a tricky situation right now. We haven’t even put up the posters of Padmaavat outside the theatres, because we are asked to remove it every now and then. We will need police protection at any cost because the audiences are really scared after the threats.”

 

While everyone fears a law and order situation, columnist Anil Dharker thinks that once the state is determined to take charge in case of any chaos, nothing should go awry. “The Supreme Court has said that the state is now responsible to maintain an orderly situation and see to it that the film isn’t hindered any longer. Now it depends on how determined the state is,” he muses.

Calling the fringe group a ‘ragtag bunch of troublemakers,’ Anil suggests preventive detention as a solution. “Considering how such threats and assaults happen in Maharashtra a lot, the police are more than equipped to deal with it. And preventive detention works most of the time — the known troublemakers should be jailed around the screening and released only after everything works out fine.”

 

Shabana Azmi, who has voiced her strong opinions supporting the makers of Padmaavat, demands punitive measures against the disruptive fringe elements. “Immediate action needs to be taken against these criminal elements so as to send out a clear signal to the country that abusive language and violent threats won’t go unpunished. The law of the land must apply with immediate effect so that a strong message is conveyed that the government has zero tolerance for violence, or a call to violence against any citizen of this country,” she resolves.

While the producers of the movie were unavailable for comment, when we contacted the Mumbai Police to know more about their plan of action, Deepak Deoraj, deputy commissioner of police operations and Mumbai spokesperson, said, “We have not decided any plan for the pre-release of the film. But, we are going to comply with the court orders and act
accordingly.”

 

— With inputs from Pooja Salvi, Uma Ramasubramanian, Subhash K. Jha

Tags: padmaavat, karni sena, mukta arts