Just when one thought all the dust on Raaes and its political controversies had settled, yet another jolt has come from Chhattisgarh where Shiv Sena has threatened cinema owners not to screen Raees. In a threat letter delivered to all exhibitors in Chhattisgarh, Rakesh Shinde, Chattisgarh Shiv Sena head, has asked exhibitors in Durg and Bhilai to not screen Raees in their theatres, failing which they will be solely responsible for the consequences.
Talking to indianexpress.com, leading exhibitor Akshaye Rathi, who tweeted the threat letter, said,”All of us exhibitors in Chhattisgarh have got these letter which the subject reads a request for ban on Raees. The body of the letter asks all exhibitors to not screen any ‘deshdrohi’s film’ and if the cinema owners do so, they will be solely responsible for all the consequences. It’s signed by Rakesh Shinde, Chhattisgarh Shiv Sena head. It’s letter dated 5th January and was delivered to us day before yesterday.”
For the moment, Akshaye and other exhibitors have reported the matter to the local police and they also plan to approach the state Chief Minister to ensure a smooth release of the film. Akshaye has also tagged Aditya Thackeray on Twitter and hope the leader will take note of the issue and take necessary corrective action against such illegal acts.
“It’s illegal to say that you will stall a film that has been certified by the CBFC for release. Also something needs to be done about this threat letter. We have informed the police about it. When PK was released, one of the cinemas in Bhilai was seriously vandalised and the damage cost me Rs 6 lakh. Dilwale too has not yet released in Durg. Even if one cinema gets vandalised, people who want to watch the film will get scared and prefer staying at home and buying pirated copies which will affect the industry,” said Akshaye who has also informed Red Chillies about the issue.
Despite Akshaye and many SRK fan clubs tagging Aditya Thackeray in the threat letter, the youth leader is yet to break his silence on the issue. Interestingly, it is not clear from the letter whether the protest against Raees is aimed at Mahira Khan’s presence in the film or if it has anything to do with SRK’s alleged statements on intolerance. We tried reaching Rakesh Shinde on his mobile phone but despite repeated attempts our calls went unanswered.
Raees has faced multiple troubles owing to the presence of Mahira Khan in the film when MNS took offence and called for a blanket ban. The controversy was smartly averted after SRK paid a visit to the party supremo Raj Thackeray and assured him that Mahira would not be a part of any film promotions and neither would he work with Pakistani actors in future.