Friday promised to see two big movies face-off at the box office on their opening day. Instead, both Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani opened to protests, with some of their shows being cancelled.
Shows for Dilwale, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, were cancelled at a multiplex at a Jabalpur Mall in the morning after Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) activists created a ruckus and burnt the film’s posters.
Shah Rukh Khan was at the centre of the raging debate on purported intolerance in India last month when he commented that religious intolerance and not being secular were the worst kind of crimes by a patriot. He went as far as saying that he would return his awards as a symbolic gesture of protest if he was asked to. A number of writers, filmmakers and artists had returned their national awards to protest what they saw as growing intolerance in the country.
However, earlier this week, the actor apologized for his comments, stating that he didn’t meant to hurt anybody’s sentiments.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, BJYM leader Sonu Bachhani said, “Those who talk of intolerance in India and leaving the country should live in Pakistan. Why we should watch their movie. Also, Shahrukh Khan’s apology he tendered on his statement didn’t sound (like it was) a true apology and he sounded arrogant.”
Despite deployment of police in anticipation of trouble from BJYM workers, protesters reached Samdariya Mall and shouted slogans against the actor. The policemen on duty reportedly didn’t use force to control the agitators.
Town inspector at Omti Police Station, Indramani Patel said police had controlled the situation and that protestors had been prevented from damaging the mall property.
Many people turned up at the mall to watch the first day first show of the much anticipated movie that also marked actor Kajol’s return to the big screen.
In Pune, the film Bajirao Mastani, which stars Ranveer Singh as the Marathi king Peshwa Bajirao and Deepika Padukone as the Rajput-Muslim princess Mastani of Bundelkhand, also faced protests. Workers from the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed the movie “distorts history” and showed the unvanquished Bajiraoin poor light.
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