Theatre owners seek government protection for Indu Sarkar release

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Priya Paul to stay the film’s release till Bhandarkar deleted certain portions in the film.

The pre-release woes for Madhur Bhandarkar’s political drama, Indu Sarkar, seem to be increasing by the day. While there is news that the FCAT (Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal) will be seeing the film this week, a petition has been reportedly filed by Sanjay Gandhi’s ‘biological daughter,’ Priya Paul to stay the film’s release till Bhandarkar deleted certain portions in the film. Meanwhile, the Congress’ tough opposition to the film and the uproar of its party workers, particularly in Pune, have now prompted theatre owners to ask for security cover after the film is officially cleared for release.

The president of the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India, Nitin Datar, revealed that he was planning to write to the government asking for protection to all cinemas where the film would be screened. “We have decided to ask the government for security cover to those cinemas which choose to screen the film. If they are unable to safeguard the theatres, we intend to ask government to compensate for damages in the event of unruly elements trying to create problems. We will see what the situation is like after the film is cleared, but the safety of cinemas and audiences is uppermost on our minds,” says Nitin.

The COEAI President, who was in the news for calling for a ban on Ae Dil Hai Mushkil due to the protest against Pakistani artistes, recalled incidents from the recent past where sections of the crowd became unruly and vandalised several cinemas, during the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Dilwale, Bajirao Mastani and several other films.

“The situation is growing from bad to worse for cinemas and we don’t want to take any risks. Madhur Bhandarkar has got protection from the government, but what about the exhibitors? They are the ultimate sufferers,” he said.

Nitin further said that the decision was being taken in view of the aggressiveness of Congress party workers and certain unsocial elements creating a ruckus about the film, “The Congress high command does not seem to have issued a statement about the protest, but the local leaders are doing it on their own and also issuing threats.  We didn’t see any problem earlier, but considering the manner in which the Congress party workers have been going on a rampage in several places, especially Pune, it is only imminent,” Nitin says, adding that the Congress had effectively tried to stall the release of films like Kissa Kursi Ka and Gandhi in the past. “However they were in the ruling party at that time. Now the government should not have a problem providing security cover to all theatres,” he said.

Meanwhile, the dialogue writer of the film, Sanjay Chhel, has said that the ruckus created by protesters around the film is unjustified. “The film is not on the Emergency. It instead is set against the backdrop of the Emergency. It is also a well-known fact that the period of the Emergency was well-documented and everything is on record, which includes the Shah Commission. There have been so many films against the backdrop of partition too, but there was no big deal about it. When I wrote Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani way back, I had taken digs on earlier governments, but there was no problem,” he recalls. Indu Sarkar is scheduled to release on July 28.

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