Anticipating trouble on the release day of Bollywood film ‘Padmaavat’, some of the biggest malls in Noida were teeming with security personnel on Thursday.
Police personnel and private security guards stood guard at entrances of multiplexes and malls which house them, looking for any sign of trouble. The first show of the Bollywood period drama began as early as 9 am, with patrons being allowed inside only after their belongings and film tickets were thoroughly checked.
At three multiplexes in Noida, there was no sign of any posters or standees at the booking counters. PVR ECX manager Vivek told indianexpress.com that it was a decision taken by the management to not display any publicity material for the film. The filmmakers, he said, did not send any fresh material after the title was changed from Padamavati to Padmaavat.
“We received the first set of posters and standees in November. After the title of the film was changed, we haven’t received any fresh material,” he said.
At DLF Mall of India, bouncers and private security guards were posted at the entrance and outside the multiplex on the top floor. Across the road, similar security precautions were taken at ‘The Great India Place’, and media personnel with video cameras weren’t permitted to interview the audience at the end of the first show. Armed policemen were also seen patrolling inside and outside TGIP. However, at Noida’s first and oldest multiplex, Wave Cinemas, only two constables sat on plastic chairs, idly watching those entering Wave Mall.
A policeman, who did not wish to be named, said: “We have been here since 9 am. No sign of any trouble so far. We are vigilant.”
The morning show at most multiplexes didn’t appear to be running full house. Tickets were easily available for all shows till 10.20 pm, according to booking website bookmyshow.com.
The audience reaction to the film has largely been positive, and many were left wondering what the controversy was all about.
Two moviegoers from the Rajput community didn’t find nothing offensive about the film and claimed the protests by fringe elements were politically motivated.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of them said: “We are members of the Rajput community, we belong to a political party, we cannot speak on the issue. The movie was great. Nothing offensive was shown about Rani Padmavati. Whatever is being done by fringe elements are politically motivated and nothing more.”
Abhay Kumar, 27, an IT employee, said: “Movie was extremely good. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has put so much effort into this movie, I thank him. If we look at it as entertainment then there is no movie like this. So many movies have been released and nobody raised a voice. What is Karni Sena, who is Karni Sena? Nobody knew about Karni Sena until Padmavati. Even I didn’t know about them. They only want publicity. What is so offensive about Padmaavat?
“I am preparing for government services and have been studying history extensively. There’s no distortion of history. See, it was a three-hour movie. No one can show history in three hours. This was an entertaining movie…In every show four to five police people are present inside the movie hall and were sitting there even during the interval. Police is doing a tremendous job.”