Friday, February 12, 2010
Saffron brigade's threats of disrupting the screening of My Name Is Khan (MNIK), protests and appeals against viewing it through SMSes, did not deter people from thronging cinemas in all major cities of the state where the Shahrukh Khan Starrer movie ran to packed houses on Friday.
The movie got a mixed response in Ahmedabad City where VHP workers protested in the morning and burnt posters of Shahrukh Khan near a multiplex on Ashram Road.
The first two shows were cancelled at all multiplexes in the city owing to the threat by various groups. However, with good response from audience and assurance from police, multiplex and film hall owners went ahead with screening.
Heavy police bandobust at cinema halls in Surat City, Vadodara City, Rajkot City and other major towns and cities ensured that nothing untoward happened.
However, in north Gujarat cinema halls in some towns, including Himmatnagar, Deesa and Patan, did not screen the movie fearing violence.
At least 40 VHP workers were rounded up in Navsari City, 22 protesters, including some from Bajrang Dal, were detained in Sabarkantha and Banaskantha districts and 50 were arrested in Bharuch City and Ankleshwar City.
In Himmatnagar, protesters entered Neelam cinema hall during the interval and manhandled some viewers forcing the management to cancel the show and shut down the theatre for the day. Fans in Mehsana had not trouble in viewing the film.
In Rajkot and Jamnagar City, after initial protest Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and VHP activists chose to let SRK fans enjoy the movie.
However, in Bhavnagar City theatre owners chose not to release the film despite police assurance.
Protesters' bid to burn a Pakistani flag in Rajkot was foiled by the police. In a pre-emptive move the VHP city office near Bombay Market in Surat was surrounded by the police from morning to prevent the workers from carrying out any violent activity to protest against the screening of the movie.
On Thursday, VHP had circulated SMSes requesting people to avoid watching MNIK, according to Utkarsh Patel, joint secretary south Gujarat, VHP. On Friday, VHP workers called up theaters and multiplexes and requested not to screen the movie. However, the theater and multiplex owners did not pay any heed to this. Bharuch town was the sole exception in south Gujarat where the movie was not screened.
Elaborate police security was maintained at all theaters and multiplexes in Vadodara where the movie was screened released in five multiplexes and four cinema halls.
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