While Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency Amethi does not have a movie hall, since Republic Day, a ‘mobile digital theatre’ has been screening the movie Uri: The Surgical Strike for the public here free of cost.
The screenings, currently held four times a day at a spice factory, are the initiative of Union Minister Smriti Irani, who had contested the 2014 Assembly elections from Amethi, and lost. The first such screening of the film on Republic Day had begun with a video conference with the minister. The official poster also carries her photograph.
The mobile threatre showing the film — which is based on the ‘surgical strike’ undertaken by India in Pakistan in 2017 — has been set up by Delhi-based company ‘Picture Time’.
“There is no working movie theatre in Amethi and there was a demand from the public to view this movie. So Smriti Irani arranged for the screenings and personally addressed the audience through video-conferencing on Republic Day,” said Vishuv Mishra, general secretary of the BJP’s youth wing, who has been given responsibility of coordinating the screening.
He added that the mobile theatre can accomodate 150 people at a time, and that there are at least four screenings a day — 9.20 am, 1.30 pm, 5 pm and 8 pm. On January 25, college students in Ramganj area were also shown the movie.
Party leaders claimed that so far, around 2,000 people — with an average of around 600 a day — have attended the screenings.
“Our message is especially to the youth, to tell them about the sacrifices of the country’s soldiers during the surgical strike, which is being propagated as a lie by Congress people. We are sure that the youth of Amethi will do a surgical strike on Congress president Rahul Gandhi by defeating him or any member of his family for the lies that they spread,” said Mishra, adding that they are now scouting for private premises to screen the film, for which a generator has also been arranged.
Congress MLC Deepak Singh said the move was an attempt to get votes, with Lok Sabha polls round the corner. “It is not for the first time that soldiers have shown their courage on the border, but it is the first time someone is trying to take credit of their courage and seek votes in their name. The public of Amethi is aware of the truth and will not be misguided by some movie shows.”
BJP spokesperson Govind Singh said, “Congress has done nothing for Amethi, that is why they are troubled each time some work is done for the people. There was a demand and Smriti Irani took the initiative to bring the movie to the doorsteps of people.”
In her message aired to the public before the first screening on Republic Day, Irani had said, “Didi (referring to herself) ka to kaam hai sewa karna…Naujawan prerit hon bhartiya sena ke shaurya ko dekh kar, yogdan ko dekh kar, maa bharti ke sapoot kaise ghar baar tyaag kar, apne praano ki aahuti dete hain, yeh is film mein dikhaaya jata hai (It is didi’s job to do service…The youth are encouraged to see the courage and contribution of the Army as the movie shows how sons of the soil sacrifice everything)…”