Rohini theatre episode: Discrimination in, humanity out 

Once the issue snowballed into a controversy, the management of Rohini theatre promptly issued a statement claiming that the theatre did not let the group in as there were children under 12...
Representational image.
Representational image.

Chennai Rohini theatre's discriminatory act of not letting 'Narikurava' people into the cinema hall for Simbu’s Pathu Thala movie on Thursday has drawn flak on social media and for the right reasons.

The video of a woman and a few kids belonging to the 'Narikurava' community being stopped by the gatekeeper in front of the theatre went viral on social media in the morning.

In the video, a male voice can be heard requesting the gatekeeper to allow the folks since they had proper tickets to watch the movie.

"What else do you want other than the tickets?" the stranger could be heard saying while arguing in favour of the tribal people. But the gatekeeper seemed unmoved.

The video elicited angry responses from netizens and a section of the media. The netizens pointed out the theatre management's inhumane behaviour towards the helpless group of people.

Once the issue snowballed into a controversy, the management of Rohini theatre promptly issued a statement claiming that the theatre did not let the group in as there were children under 12 years of age in the group and the movie has been certified U/A. The theatre also went on to post a video of the group of people seated inside the theatre to show that the women and children were later allowed to watch the movie. Whether or not the theatre management sought the permission of the group to videograph them remains another question.

Netizens had been quick to point out how the same theatre had let kids under 12 watch another U/A movie Mersal when it was released. It was also pointed out U/A certificate doesn't deny entry for kids but only requires parental guidance. 

In an interview, Pathu Thala movie director Obeli N Krishna said it is very unfortunate this incident happened. In an interview with a popular Tamil news channel, the gatekeeper was heard saying he was simply following the instructions of the owners.

WATCH |

This is one of the episodes of caste discrimination that can be grouped with so many from the past. Last year, a video of a bus conductor mistreating a 'Narikurava' family forcing the family to get off the bus went viral in the same way. The bus driver and the conductor were suspended. 

Social media has been flooded with messages that cinema theatres are not the utopian spaces people had imagined them to be.

But then Tamil Nadu is still a state where Dalits can get beaten up for playing a song of resistance. It is to be noted that recent history shows that any resistance from the oppressed community is suppressed in many instances by the high-handedness of the powerful.

Police have booked the theatre management under SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act. Netizens were quick to hope that the gatekeeper is not made a scapegoat in the case.

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