A day after the release of director Puri Jagannath’s Pawan Kalyan-starrer ‘Cameraman Ganga tho Rambabu,’ the film’s screening was stopped at cinemas across the region on Friday with Telangana activists attacking theatres, torching flexis and ransacking the office of the film director in the city.
The film landed in trouble with TRS and Telangana parties demanding that the screening of the movie be stopped as it contained scenes showing Telangana agitation in a poor light.
Acting at the request of the Telangana Film Chamber of Commerce, exhibitors in the region have agreed to pull the movie off screens till the “offensive” scenes are deleted.
A stunned Jagannath tried to explain that the movie revolved around the idea of national integration and not Telangana.
He, however, tendered an apology for hurting the sentiments of Telangana people.
He and film distributor Dil Raju agreed to delete the objectionable scenes.
The issue, however, did not calm down even after their assurance as it assumed political colour within a matter of hours.
Congress MP Lagadapati Rajagopal jumped into the fray and said the movie was one of the best and lauded director Puri Jagannath and lead star Pawan Kalyan.
As the Pandora’s box opened, the Telangana Film Chamber of Commerce (TFCC) met hurriedly in the evening and asked the cinema managements to stop screening the movie from Saturday.
“The movie is objectionable. It is hurting the sentiments of the people of the region. We asked the theatre managements to stop screening the movie till the objectionable portions are cut,’’ TFCC president M Vijayender Reddy told Express.
Though one of the film’s distributors, Dil Raju, who hails from Telangana, tried to cool down the tempers, the activists did not budge.
Trouble broke out in the morning when activists of the Osmania University Joint Action Committee (OUJAC) forced their way into the Aradhana theatre at Tarnaka and stopped the screening of the movie.
After damaging the decorative items there, the activists took away the film reel and tore down the banners. They burnt the film reel at the Arts College and sat on a dharna there for some time. The protests spread to other parts of the city and to other districts soon.
Telangana activists attacked cinemas and stopped the screening of the movie at several places. In Warangal incidents of violence at various cinemas was reported.
By afternoon, a majority of the theatres pulled the movie off the screens.
Anticipating trouble, security at cinemas and malls in which the movie is being screened was intensified. Security was provided at the office and residence of Puri Jagannath. TRS Vidyarthi Vibhag planned a protest in front of a mall but shifted the venue.
Meanwhile, a group of 35 youngsters barged into the office of Puri Jagannath at Jubilee Hills and smashed the windscreens of four expensive cars parked on the premises. They also damaged some flower pots and then, forcing their way into the office, damaged several computers and furniture.
“I was inside the room and as I heard commotion I came out running.
Nearly 25 youngsters were damaging flower pots and were smashing the windscreens of the cars. The damaged cars include a Skoda, a Honda and another one,’’ a security guard told Express adding that more than 10 policemen were present there but could not stop them.
It is learnt Jagannath was on the first floor of the office when the attack took place. Additional forces reached the place and arrested 15 persons including TRSV president T Suman under various nonbailable sections.
A couple of cinemas at Kukatpally and Moosapet were also attacked. The Telangana Film Chamber, in the evening, met and decided to ask the theatre managements to stop screening the movie from Saturday.
Puri Jagannath told the media that he had screened the movie for Telangana protagonists and effected 12 cuts before releasing the film
“The film has nothing to do with Telangana. Those who had seen the screening earlier did not raise any objection. I did not intend to hurt either Telangana sentiment or the TDP. But I apologise if I hurt anyone’s sentiments,’’ the film’s director said.