Multiplexes across the city have started screening the Shah Rukh Khan starrer ‘My Name is Khan’ (MNIK) after cancelling the first show owing to a protest from Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal activists, members of the Multiplex Owners Association (MOA) said on Friday.
“Screening of MNIK has begun in most of the multiplexes in the city,” Owner of Wide Angle Multiplex, and member of MOA Manubhai Patel told PTI.
“Though there were protests against the film in the morning, screening began with the second show after the first show was cancelled,” he said.
Bookings opened at City Pulse, City Gold, Fun Cinemas and BIG Cinemas in the city in the afternoon.
After some initial reluctance, the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer My Name is Khan was released in cinema theatres in Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat as per schedule on Friday.
The police resorted to mild lathi-charge and arrested five activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and about 50 workers of the Bajrang Dal after they staged demonstrations in front of a couple of multiplexes and other cinema theatres, forcing theatre owners to cancel the morning show of the film. However, once the activists were arrested, the protests melted down and the exhibitors went ahead with the afternoon show.
Friday being a holiday on account of “Mahashivratri Day,” the number of cinema-goers picked up as the day progressed.
It is learnt that Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, had personally called up some multiplex owners to release the film, assuring them of full government support and necessary security in view of the protests by a section of the people.
Taking the cue from the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, the Bajrang Dal and the newly-formed Mahagujarat Janata Party had raised a banner of protest against the film on Thursday, putting theatre owners in a state of uncertainty about releasing the film despite the security assurance by State Director General of Police S.S. Khandwawala.
The VHP also jumped into the fray on Friday but failed to prevent the release of the film. The leaders of the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and the MJP were reluctant to comment on the film’s release .
Some sporadic incidents of violence by the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena activists were also reported from Rajkot, Surendranagar, Jamnagar, Navsari, Palanpur, Mehsana and some other parts of the State, but that did not deter the exhibitors from releasing the film as per schedule.
Abut 40 protestors were arrested in Navsari while some 20 were picked up in Jamnagar. At several places, the workers tore the posters of the film and burnt effigies. The screening of the film, however, continued under heavy police bandobust.