Gujarat theatre owners refuse to screen Padmaavat


Multiplex owners in Gujarat have unanimously decided not to screen Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmaavat for fear of vandalism following threats by groups led by the Karni Sena.

Despite the Supreme Court staying notifications by four states, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat, on Thursday to ban the release Padmaavat and the Gujarat Police asking multiplex owners about their security requirements, the latter are clearly running scared, reported The Hindustan Times.

A day after actor Akshay Kumar pushed 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 security assurances by the police department.

“On Friday, we had a meeting with police department which has asked us to provide us details on our security requirement. But at the same time, not one or two, but the number of protesting groups has swelled to 10. All of them have been making frequent visits to multiplexes across the state and have warned us of consequences if the film is screened,” multiplex owner Patel said.

Karni Sena and others have formed an umbrella of Gujarat Kshatriya Samaj, which have warned against the release of the film. On Saturday, these fringe groups allegedly blocked highways by burning tyres in Surendranagar, Bhavnagar, and Banaskantha districts.

Theater owners also believe that movie is unlikely to get big opening as threats by the protesting groups are likely to discourage viewers.

The multiplex owners described the situation as more threatening than what it was for Amir Khan’s Fanaa, which was also not allowed to run in Gujarat following actor’s remarks in favour of Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Amber Cinema a single-screen theatre in Jamnagar which took the risk to screen Fanaa, ran into trouble after a man immolated himself inside theatre’s toilet to register his protest.

On the other hand, Rajput Karni Sena claimed that director Sanjay Leela Bhansali invited them for a special screening of the period drama. However, they turned down the invitation.

The outfit called the invitation an ‘eyewash’ and said that the makers do not appear to be “serious about the matter.”

Padmavati, retitled to Padmaavat continues to face opposition from Hindu extremist groups including Karni Sena for allegedly distorting history and portraying Rani Padmavati in bad light. Bhansali was even attacked and thrashed by Karni Sena during one of its filming schedules and bounty was issued on his and Deepika Padukone’s head.

Padmaavat starres Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles and is scheduled to release on January 25.