Event A report from the ‘Panja' audio release function from outside the venue
Saturday evening was the day of Pawan Kalyan fans as they trooped to the Gachchibowli Stadium for a ringside view of the audio launch of his latest movie Panja . As people across the state watched it on two TV channels interspersed with advertisements, the fans who came to see the audio function got more than they bargained for.
The number of passes obviously outnumbered the capacity of the indoor stadium which is only 4000. The trouble began nearly a km away near the IIIT campus by 6 p.m. where the traffic pile up began as two-wheeler owners parked on the pavement to get into the stadium. The function was scheduled for 7 p.m., strangely, it began on time. The fans who could not get into the stadium had to stare down at the metalled tip of batons as they jostled to make their way to the entrance.
“They are letting in people in cars,” went the rumour and all passers-by in cars had to face milling crowds of young people who wanted a lift till inside the gate.
“Sar, sar only for a short distance,” pleaded a young man with a passenger wearing all black sitting cross legged with bare feet inside an S-Class Mercedes.
A little ahead, another young man was distributing passes knowing their uselessness. At the entrance of the stadium, stood a bunch of policemen who banged the lathi on floor and shooed away the milling crowd. “Press pass? Big deal, we have been told not to let in even people having VVIP passes. Get lost,” said a constable in Telugu peppered with choice expletives for the organisers.
Will the fans watch the movie after this experience? “Yes. We want to make it a big hit,” said a fan travelling back to S.R. Nagar unfazed by his experience of missed date with his star.