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After Gujarat backs out, Padmaavat's fate in other states appears doubtful too  


From fringe groups threatening theatre owners to the lack of government action, Padmaavat continues to be a burning national issue. 

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Keyur Seta

Gujarat Multiplex Association has decided not to screen Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat fearing violence. “We have decided not to screen the movie in whole of Gujarat. Everyone is scared. No multiplex wants to bear the loss. Why will we bear the loss?” said Rakesh Patel, director of the association in an interview with news agency ANI. 

It seems that the fate of the film is doubtful in other states too, especially Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, where the film was earlier banned by the state governments before the Supreme Court ordered the ban be lifted. 

While speaking to Cinestaan.com, Jayprakash Choksi, chief of the Central Circut Cine Association, the representative body of film distributors, said, “It is doubtful if the film will even release in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. I myself won’t go to watch the film on the first day. I will go only if the situation becomes better in the next few days.” 

Choksi who resides in Madhya Pradesh, says the silence of the state and the central government is making people wary of watching the film. “There has been no action taken on any Karni Sena member. It seems that the government is indirectly supporting them,” he said. But, Choksi believes Padmaavat is not expected to face problems in the eastern and southern parts of India. “The film is expected to run properly in these areas,” he added. 

There have been various reports about Padmaavat not getting distributors. But Murli Chhatwani, a distributor from Gujarat, tell us that this is not true. “Viacom has distributors all over. But theatre owners are afraid that in the possibility of vandalism, they will face loses. They have to first get ready for screening the film. They will get ready only when they get protection or some confirmation that their theatres won’t be damaged,” he said. 

Manoj Desai, owner of Mumbai’s iconic G7 Multiplex and Maratha Mandir has decided to demand protection fearing violence. “I am in Gujarat currently. I will reach Mumbai tomorrow. First thing after I reach, I will be demanding police protection. If we don’t take police protection and the theatres get damaged, there is no point,” he told Cinestaan.com over the telephone. 

Another distributor on the basis of anonymity said that theatres are receiving threats from fringe groups: “I have heard that they are getting messages threatening them not to show the film.”

Meanwhile, lawyer Harish Salve too has received threats for defending Padmaavat in the Supreme Court and an FIR has been filed against an unknown person. 

On the other hand, Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA), in a letter (below) has requested theatres to screen the film and urged state governments to ensure law and order. “We as a film body request all the exhibitors to stand by the decision of the apex court and exhibit the film Padmaavat without any fear. We request the respective state government authorities of the four states to enforce law and order,” said an official statement issued by IFTDA.