Film was screened in theatres on Saturday, but attendance was thin

The controversy surrounding the Bollywood film Singham starring Ajay Devgn and Prakash Raj refuses to die down despite the production house and the cast and crew tendering an unconditional apology for the alleged remarks against Kannada- and Tulu-speaking people.

The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) has demanded deletion of all “objectionable” dialogues from the movie. Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, KFCC chairman Basanth Kumar Patil said the alleged derogatory remarks should be removed from all the prints screened across the country within two days.

The controversy assumes significance in the backdrop of the decades-old border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra. In the movie, Mr. Devgn, the hero, is from Maharashtra, and Prakash Raj, the villain, is from Karnataka. In the course of a stand-off between these two, Mr. Devgn allegedly uses derogatory remarks against Kannadigas.

Activists of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike protested near various movie theatres here on Saturday demanding that the screening of the film be stopped.

Earlier in the day, S. Narasimhan of Reliance Big Entertainment held a press conference and apologised to the people of Karnataka, saying the references were unintentional. In a written statement released by Duet Movies, Mr. Raj and Rohit Shetty, the director of the film, said that they would never deliberately hurt the feelings of the people of Karnataka. In another release, Mr. Devgn said, “I would never deliberately do anything to hurt any sentiment of any community or the people of my country.”

Though the film was screened in various theatres across the city on Saturday, attendance was thin.

Sources in the Kannada film industry said that being a Kannadiga, Mr. Shetty should not have used such dialogues.