Deekshith D V
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru/Udupi (HB)
Mangaluru/Udupi, Dec 23: Right-wing activists have been protesting against the Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol starrer 'Dilwale', directed by Rohit Shetty, apparently irked over the comment on intolerance made by the Bollywood Badshah. In several parts of the country, the activists staged protests outside theatres or stopped the screening of the movie, thus hitting box-office collections. Nevertheless, the film has still managed to rake in profits and is inching towards the 100-crore mark in India.
In Mangaluru too, activists of Bajrang Dal barged into malls on Sunday December 20 and forcibly stopped the screening of the movie, and despite assurance by the police to provide security to the malls and case being filed against the activists, the situation remains brittle.
It wasn't in Mangaluru alone. On Tuesday December 22, Bajrang Dal activists in Udupi stopped the 4.30 pm show of the movie at Ashirvad theatre. The activists not only protested outside the theatre, they also tore down the movie posters. Among those involved in the protest were Bajrang Dal Mangaluru unit assistant convenor Sunil K R, Udupi district convenor Dinish Mendon, Hindu Jagarana Vedike's Prakash Kukkehalli, and Harshavardhan Hoode. The owner of the theatre informed the police, who rushed to the spot.
Police sources told daijiworld that 10 persons protested at Ashirvad theatre, and that the matter was settled after talks between the activists and the theatre owner. With situation returning to normal, the shows have been running as scheduled.
But the same cannot be said about Mangaluru. The theatre owners have refused to continue with the screening in view of security concerns and therefore incurred heavy losses, as 'Dilwale' was a keenly awaited movie that was expected to rake in large profits.
Speaking to the daijiworld, Keerthan Shetty, managing head of Cinepollis said, "We have incurred a loss of about Rs 5 lac due to the stopping of 'Dilwale' shows. Bajrang Dal activists had approached us asking to stop the screening of the movie. We do not want to run the show forcibly. Let us wait till everything is back to normal."
Balakrishna Shetty, manager of Big Cinemas told daijiworld, "Bajrang Dal activists protested in front of Bharat Mall demanding to stop the screening of the movie, and as the result, the show was cancelled. There were 11 shows scheduled in a day, so we have incurred a loss of approximately Rs 4 lac so far."
Deepak Ganghadar, managing head of PVR Cinemas also said that the theatre suffered a loss of approximately Rs 4 lac. "There are 14 new movies arriving in the theatre, so we are concentrating on those. Moreover, now the demand for 'Dilwale' has come down," he said.
DCP Shantharaju speaking to daijiworld said that police department will provide adequate security to the theatres if they are ready to screen the film.
Meanwhile, the Citizens' Forum for Mangalore Development led by Vidya Dinker, citing the report on daijiworld, has written to home minister Dr Parameshwara and chief minister Siddaramaiah urging stern action against those who disrupted the screening of the movie in Mangaluru and immoral policing, and steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur again.
"...‘immoral policing’ is a serious issue with deep political and social undertones. The diligence of the police alone is not enough to curb it. The government should express its political will to eradicate the problem once and for all. The state home ministry should play an active role and render its expertise," the Forum stated in its letter to Dr Parameshwara.
"Hence we urge you to urgently look into the matter and personally direct your ministry torestore peace and the rule of law in Dakshina Kannada district. As an immediate measure we request you to seek reports on the present incident at hand – that of attack on movie theaters located under Urwa and Pandeshwar Police stations which are screening the Shah Rukh Khan film ‘Dilwale’ – and ensure centralized monitoring of the concerned police jurisdictions dealing with the matter," it added.