Special task force at Padmaavat screenings in Mumbai
Mumbai police and STF to man cinemas screening Bhansali film after Karni Sena threatens violence in city
Rashtriya Singh Sena members raise slogans against the release of Bollywood film Padmaavat, in Meerut on Friday
Two days ahead of Padmaavat's controversial release, it appears there's little respite for filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. After the weekend saw episodes of violence by political groups opposing its release, the makers of the film, we hear, have approached the Mumbai police for its personnel to be stationed at primary cineplexes across the city.
Days after protestors torched public service buses and a theatre in Ahmedabad after the SC lifted the ban on the film's release, a source close to the unit tells mid-day, "The Rajput Karni Sena is adamant that it won't allow the film to release. Hence, ahead of the January 24 screening in Mumbai, we've spoken to the police, who've promised to lend support. We will be able to discuss the details about the security close to the film's release. The events are unfortunate. Although the film has been cleared by the Censor Board, we are yet to find distributors to back it."
It has been suggested that the Special Task Force (STF) will be roped in to provide security to cinemas from January 24, when a paid preview is scheduled. Security is expected to be tight at not just theatre entrances, but also the entrance to various screens within each multiplex. While the STF is believed to have been roped in till January 26, the need to extend security will be reviewed later.
When mid-day connected with Dr Ranjit Patil, minister of state for home, he said, "Our police has a lot of experience in handling such law-and-order situations. We will take a call according to the situation on the ground and ensure that everything goes well."
Joint commissioner of police Deven Bharti added, "We are prepared to maintain law and order across the city. We will provide necessary security and will not allow anyone to take the law into their hands and spread violence. Miscreants will be handled sternly."
After refusing Bhansali's offer to watch the Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh starrer, Lokendra Kalvi of the Karni Sena tells mid-day that they will "ensure the city is in flames" if the release is not stalled. "We are ready to watch the film if they promise to incorporate our suggestions after." Over the weekend, transport services in Ahmedabad were halted after buses were torched. It is suggested that the Rajasthan release may be delayed.
- With inputs from Anurag Kamble
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