BHOPAL: Notwithstanding the Madhya Pradesh government directions to ensure adequate security around the cinema halls, which opt for screening Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmaavat, the Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh-starrer flick will not be screened anywhere in the state possibly this week.
However, it’s not security concerns arising out of protest by the anti-Padmaavat Karni Sena and allied outfits which is stopping the cinema hall owners from releasing the movie in MP from Friday, but it’s instead a conscious decision by cinema hall owners to ensure that Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Padman,’ gets a solo-release in theatres across MP on Friday.
The move is being seen as a reciprocal response coming from the end of producers of Padmaavat to the producers of Padman and Akshay Kumar, who had deferred the release of their film from January 25 to February 9, to ensure that there was no conflict between the two movies at the box office on January 25.
Importantly, after clearance from the Censor Board and following a Supreme Court order clearing decks for its pan-India release, Padmaavat was released across the country, excepting Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh on January 25.
“The decision of not releasing Padmaavat in Madhya Pradesh and other parts of central India on Thursday or Friday has been taken owing to technical reasons known at the level of the film’s producers only,” Central Cine Circuit Association (CCCA) director Basant Laddha told The New Indian Express over phone from Indore on Thursday.
While he refused to divulge more about the issue, CCCA sources (representative body of cinema hall owners in MP and other parts of Central India) claimed that Padmaavat is not being released in MP and other parts of central India, to ensure that Padman gets a solo release in the region on Friday.
In Bhopal, meanwhile, the secretary of the Rajdhani Cinema Association (representative body of single screen cinema halls in Bhopal) Azizuddin said that earlier it was planned to release Padmaavat on Thursday in at least five halls of the city, including Raj, Rambha, Alpana, Rangmahal and Muskan theatres. But owing to decision of the CCCA of not screening the movie on Thursday or Friday, the release has been cancelled.
“Everything depends on the first day box office collections of Padman in MP, if the Akshay Kumar-starrer movie is able to get handsome collections on the first day, then the release of Padmaavat in MP will not happen before Monday. However, if Padman fails to click on the box office on Friday, possibility of Padmaavat’s release on the weekend cannot be ruled out totally,” another office bearer of the Rajdhani Cinema Association claimed.
Earlier on Wednesday evening, a special screening of Padmaavat was carried out at Mangal City cinemas in Indore for members of Karni Sena and other Kshatriya community members in presence of scribes and cops.
“Those who watched the movie, including Karni Sena members felt that there was nothing objectionable in the movie,” said CCCA director Basant Laddha.
However, a small group of Karni Sena protested in Indore Vijay Nagar area on Thursday cautioning against Padmaavat’s release in the state.
Following the Madhya Pradesh High Court order directing the state government to ensure compliance of Supreme Court order on release of Padmaavat, the state home department had on Sunday directed administration and police in all 51 districts of MP to provide adequate security up to 200 meters radius of cinema halls opting to screen the movie.
The controversial flick Padmavati was first banned by the MP government in November 2017 and even after the Censor Board cleared the film for January 25 pan-India release with changed title Padmaavat and other modifications, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government had decided not to allow its release in MP.
Even after the SC ordered for pan-India release of the movie last month, the MP government had filed a plea before the apex court to reconsider its decision per se MP owing to law and order concerns. However, the MP government’s plea was dismissed by the top court.
On January 25, the movie was a non-show across MP, except one multiplex in naxal-affected Balaghat district, where too its screening was suspended the next day.