New Delhi: Amid high tension, anger and protests, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial epic film, Padmaaavat, hit the screens across India, save Rajasthan and Gujarat on Thursday, reports said.
According to reports, about ten lakh (one million) tickets of the film have already been sold out.
With Deepika Padukone playing the title role, the much awaited movie has been mired in controversy for its alleged “misrepresentations” and “distortion of facts.”
Several multiplex owners in Rajasthan and Gujarat are not screening ‘Padmaavat’ out of fear of attack on the theatre houses by the Karni Sena members opposing the release of the film in order to protect the dignity of Rani Padmini, media reports said.
The Association of India (MAI) had declared that its members in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa would not screen Padmaavat on Thursday.
Citing the “prevailing law and order situation”, MAI president Deepak Asher had said on Wednesday, “The safety of our patrons and visitors to the malls and multiplexes is of paramount importance, and under the present circumstances, it was apprehended that there could be a potential risk to such safety.”
The film that stirred the sentiments of Rajput groups and witnessed a string of litigation, besides sustained violent protests for the last couple of months, was originally slated for release on December 1.
Vandalism and violence were reported in Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra on Wednesday, with members of fringe groups taking to the streets to protest the release of the film.
It was cleared by the censor board with a few changes, but later banned by some state governments, including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
The Supreme Court later struck down the ban, citing the freedom of expression, and paved the way for its release today.
Despite protests and across the country over the release of Padmaavat, media reports say that fans have not stopped themselves from watching the movie in Mumbai.
At multiplexes in Noida, there were no signs of protesters or standees at the booking counters.
In Kolkata, Police has taken several preventive steps to avoid any law and order disruption during the screening of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial movie Padmavat in the city, officials said.
According to reports, surveillance and security in and around Kolkata’s cinema halls have been stepped up ahead of the screening of Padmavat.
Cinema halls running Padmaavat in Lucknow are under tight security.
Rajasthan Home Minister has appealed to the people to protest peacefully and not take law into their hands.