Following protests against Padmaavat in many Indian states, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film is finally releasing today (paid previews to be screened on Wednesday). The first show for the general audience will kick off at 6 pm in Mumbai.
All the cinema halls in Mumbai have beefed up their security, and you’ll see a lot of Mumbai police constables hovering around malls and cinema halls to make sure that there is no sudden eruption of violence and that the audience that comes to watch the film feel secure.
One of the police constables at High Street Phoenix PVR told indianexpress.com that there are at least a dozen constables in the premise to make sure that the screening of the film is smooth and there is no disruption by any external elements.
He said, “We have been deputed here for the screening of Padmaavat, to make sure that everybody who comes to watch the film is safe. There is no problem as yet, and the special screenings have gone smoothly. We are expecting the same when the film releases for the general audience on Wednesday.”
DCP Deepak Devraj, Police PRO, told indianexpress.come that right now all the cinema halls in Maharashtra have police protection, and they will be deciding how many constables to depute on ever day basis.
He said, “We have given police protection to all the cinema halls in Maharashtra so that the audience feels safe, and can come and watch the film. We will give security as long as it is needed, until the issue doesn’t die down.”
A police source near Deepika Padukone’s house told us that the actor has police protection, and will continue getting it until the issue settles down. There were two constables near the gate of Deepika’s house in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, and more constables were inside the building premise. Reportedly even Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Sanjay Leela Bhansali also have been provided with police protection.
While PVR refused to comment, our source, who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, told us that the past few days have been hectic as they were planning how to release Padmaavat. She said, “Last few days have been crazy. We are following the orders and have beefed up the security at all PVR screens in Mumbai.” We also tried to get in touch with officials from Cinepolis and Carnival cinemas, but nobody was available for comments.
When it comes to single screens in the city, we spoke to Mr Manoj Desai of Gaiety Galaxy in Bandra. He said, “We’ve been asking for police protection for long now. Initially, the police didn’t comply but we are getting support now as the film is all ready to release. And that’s a sigh of relief.”
Mr Nitin Datar, President of Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India, said, “They (police) will be providing us the security. We have informed our exhibitors also that they should contact their near police stations and ask for protection. We will be getting protection. There should be no problem. It is the individual choice of the exhibitor, taking into consideration the risks, the damage that can be caused to their property and more than that the exhibitors are afraid about the security of the patrons.”