Rajput group says will 'burn down' Noida halls that run Padmavati; Police promises action against 'hooliganism'
After over 200 members of a Rajput group barged into the malls in Noida’s Sector 18 on Sunday, warning multiplex owners to not screen ‘Padmavati’, Noida Police has made it clear that if the CBFC certifies the film and cinema owners decide to screen the movie, they will not allow anyone to stop the screening of the film in any theatre. Senior police officials told us that even though cinema owners have not complained of any threat so far, they are aware of the situation and any “hooliganism” will not be tolerated.
Protestors inside Mall of India in Noida’s Sector 18
We will burn cinema halls screening Padmavati: Agitators
In videos shot by mall visitors on Sunday, a group of protestors calling themselves Rajputs can be seen accusing filmmakers of distorting facts. The agitators can be seen warning multiplex staff that if the film is released, they will vandalise mall property and will even burn down theatres. “Our demand is that no distorted fact should be shown in the film, and the Rajput community will strongly oppose any move to present wrong facts about Rani Padmavati,” agitators can be heard saying in the videos.
A cinema manager of a multiplex in Sector 18 tells us, “On Sunday, some protestors came to our cinema hall and asked us to not screen ‘Padmavati’. They also threatened that if we do so, they will burn our theatre. We heard them out and then they left.”
We will not allow this kind of hooliganism: Noida police
UP Police officials have responded by saying that it is not for protestors to decide if a film can be screened or not, and that if the film is released, they will provide security to prevent any disruption.
Arun Kumar, SP City, Noida, says, “We have sent out a clear message to the protestors that it is the job of the Censor Board to decide which film can be screened in cinemas and which cannot. If the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) clears the film and theatre owners decide to screen it, we will provide police security for the screening of the film. And if someone tries to stop its screening in cinemas, it means that they are taking law and order in their own hands, and we will not allow this kind of hooliganism anywhere in Noida. We will take strict action against any such rowdy behaviour of any protest group.”
We have not received any complaint from theatre owners: Noida police
In the videos shot by bystanders, while some protestors can be seeing issuing threats, others say that if any poster has been put up at cinema halls, they will remove it “pyaar se”. Have the police received any complaints?
A grab of the video in which some Rajput protestors are seen threatening cinema halls of dire consequences if they screen ‘Padmavati’
Arun Kumar says, “We have not received any complaints from either the mall authorities or the cinema halls. But our local agencies had such inputs, and so we were prepared for the situation. Because of the police presence and alertness, no untoward incident happened on Sunday. In case we receive any complaints from cinema hall owners, we will take strict action.”
When producers have not filed any complaint against the protest groups, how can we?: Cinemas
Most cinema halls refused to comment on the threats. Noida’s theatre owners have also chosen to not take any action against the protestors yet, saying that they are waiting for the CBFC to clear the film. A cinema manager, without wishing to be named, tells us, “There’s huge money at stake and giving any statements at this stage won’t be a prudent move for us. It is indeed sad that any objection or a protest by anyone can stall the release of a film. But we can’t do anything – either the distributors or producers can find a solution or the police. But when the producers have not filed a complaint against the protest groups, how can we do it? ”
Another cinema owner says, “It is one of the biggest releases of the year, and a lot is at stake. However, we believe that the production team will find a middle path and the film will be released on its scheduled date.”
A still from the upcoming film ‘Padmavati