Amid protests, no ‘Padmaavat’ release in Gujarat; no screening in multiplexes in 3 more states

As violent protests against the release of film “Padmaavat” burgeoned, the Multiplex Association of India said on Wednesday its members would not screen the period drama in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa.

In Gujarat, following Tuesday night’s violent protests in Ahmedabad, exhibitors said the film will not be released anywhere, multiplexes or single-screens.

Protests against the film were held in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and several towns of Madhya Pradesh. Mumbai police tightened security at the residences of the film’s director Sanjay Leela Bhasali and the lead actor Deepika Padukone. Deepika will get round-the-clock security, an official said.

The decision of the Multiplex Association of India, which represents about 75 per cent of the multiplex owners in the country, came as Rajput outfits and other fringe elements vandalised malls, burned vehicles, and issued open threats to theatre owners and public in their bid to stall its release, claiming distortion of history.

The film is slated for release today.

“We have decided not to play the film in four states — Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP and Goa — as the local management has told us that the law and order situation is not conducive,” Deepak Asher, president of the association said.

The Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed “Padmaavat” is based on the saga of a 13th century battle between Maharaja Ratan Singh of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji.

“We are releasing the film almost everywhere, except few places where there is disturbance. We have 488 screens across India. In a few places the film won’t be shown due to possible threat (of violence),” said Rajender Singh, Chief Programing Officer, Inox.

Singh said the advance booking was very encouraging, but it was difficult to say how many people would actually turn up to see the film.

Nitin Datar, executive committee member, Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India, said the organisation has asked its member exhibitors to contact the nearest police stations and seek protection. The association, with members in Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra and parts of Karnataka, has over 500 theatres affiliated to it.

Theatre owners in Gujarat said “Padmaavat” will not be screened in any of the multiplexes or single-screen theatres in the state till the row over the film is resolved.

Police arrested 50 people in connection with the violence outside malls in Ahmedabad Tuesday night. The Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association said the decision not to screen the film was taken in view of Tuesday night’s violence.PTI