About 60 activists belonging to the Bajrang Dal stormed the Gitanjali cinema and stopped the screening of the Kannada film Katariveera Surasundarangi here on Saturday.
They were joined by Sri Lakshmivara Tirtha Swamiji of Shiroor Math. The activists and the swamiji opposed what they termed to be objectionable references to Hindu religion in the film. The trouble began as the hall was getting ready for the morning show of the film at 10.15 a.m., when activists barged in.
The lease-holder running the theatre Vasanth Nayak pleaded with the Bajrang Dal activists and later the seer to allow the film to run as he had paid Rs. 7 lakh to the distributors for the exhibition of the film.
The Bajrang Dal activists kept shouting slogans against the film and the film-maker Muniratna. They tore the posters of the film inside the cinema and outside. The police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. The screening of the film was stopped.
Sri Lakshmivara Tirtha Swamiji said the objectionable references to Hindu religion and deities could not be allowed. Udupi was a spiritual town which was home to the “Ashta Maths”.
Meanwhile, writer K. Phaniraj said the reaction of the Bajrang Dal activists against the film was a continuation of thwarting of right to freedom of expression by extremist elements. He said he had not seen the film. In all popular films, gods and puranic elements were interpreted in different ways. “It is not new to our tradition," he said.
Mangalore Staff Correspondent reports:
Members of the Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini on Saturday staged protests against screening of the film in Mangalore at Suchitra and Big Cineams on Saturday. The protests were against some of the scenes in the new film which the protesters said hurt the sentiments of Hindus. The protestors came in a procession and brunt the posters and banners of the film at Suchitra cinema.