The Shiv Sena’s attack on multiplexes in the city where advance booking for actor Shah Rukh Khan’s film My Name Is Khan had opened took place even as the film’s director Karan Johar met Mumbai Police Commissioner D. Sivanandan on Tuesday morning to seek an assurance of security.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Mr. Johar said: “We have an assurance from Mr. Sivanandan of full protection everywhere. There is no issue and everything is fine. Our advance bookings have opened nationwide and the film will release on February 12. We had come here to seek a personal assurance that security would be provided at every location. We are on board for the release.”
Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), told a press conference: “The distributors and theatre-owners of My Name Is Khan came to meet us. We have assured them that wherever this film is screened in Mumbai, we will give adequate protection. They have given us a list of theatres. We have already started protection at some places where advance bookings are going on.
“I would not like to discuss deployment pattern, but we are providing adequate security. Theatres, officers of exhibitors and distributors, including personal security will be taken care of.”
Without naming the Sena, Mr. Roy said there was a concern “that there have been some moves by some political parties suggesting that the film be banned. Some calls have been made. There was pressure not to release the film.”
“We are considering the possibility of [Sainiks] buying tickets and disrupting the show inside; we have thought of preventive action. The issue of producing identity proof has not yet come up, but if need be, we would ask for identification.
“There will be high level of frisking and personal checking of people entering theatres. We have also tried to design a protocol on what steps need to be followed. There is a possibility of police being present in plain clothes. We have called for the State Reserve Police Force,” Mr. Roy added. He said the film was being released in 63 theatres as of now.
The police are also providing personal security to some people connected with the film. Mr. Johar has not yet asked for personal security and Mr. Roy remained tight-lipped on whether such a demand had come from Mr. Khan. Heavy police deployment continues at the actor’s bungalow in suburban Bandra.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai police’s leave has been cancelled. There has been no respite for the police who were engaged in bandobast duty during Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s visit.
A festering law and order situation lies ahead with the nearing of the movie’s release date, followed by the Sena’s pet peeve, Valentine’s Day, and the Indian Premier League in March.
Pointing to an intensification of its campaign, Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi is reported to have reiterated his party’s demand for an apology from Mr. Khan and said Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray would take to the streets if need be.