Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmaavat — which has faced fiery protests in several parts of the country — was screened peacefully in movie theatres across the state on Thursday amid elaborate security arrangements.
More than 20 theatres screened Padmaavat in Kolkata on Thursday. Security forces were deployed outside halls since Wednesday night. Police said no incidents of violence were reported and all screenings were held as per schedule.
An inspector on duty in central Kolkata said, “We were a bit apprehensive, but things went smoothly. We had orders to act against anyone who tries to create a problem. This is the first time I am on duty outside a movie hall to ensure the smooth screening of a Bollywood film.”
“We received a good response. Most tickets were sold online. It’s completely peaceful here and since tomorrow is a national holiday, we expect more crowds,” said a ticket seller at Hind Cinema in Kolkata.
“Kolkata is the city of joy. We believe in art and creativity and it was quite evident today. While people have been struggling in other cities to watch this movie, we didn’t have to. We were a little hesitant after we saw the security outside the theatre. We thought there may be some protests, but nothing happened. We loved the movie,” said Anindita Chakraborty, an engineering student who watched the film with her friends at a theatre in Kolkata on Thursday.
Bidhannagar, which has several multiplexes and single-screen halls, did not see any agitations either. “Precautionary arrangements had been made outside all cinemas screening Padmaavat since yesterday. No agitation was reported from anywhere,” K Sabri Rajkumar, deputy commissioner (detective department) told The Indian Express.
Screenings were held peacefully in Siliguri as well. “No protests were reported. Arrangements were made covering all important malls,” Sunil Choudhury, police commissioner, Siliguri, said. Padmaavat was originally slated for release on December 1. While it was cleared by the censor board with a few changes, state governments including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh said they would not screen it. The SC, however, struck down this ban citing freedom of expression, and paved the way for its release.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had supported the film’s release at public meetings and had also welcomed Bhansali to Kolkata for the film’s premiere. She also assured of adequate security for the screenings.
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