Three days before its scheduled release, ‘Padmaavat’ faced uncertainty on Monday in at least four states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Jharkhand — with an overwhelming majority of distributors and exhibitors unwilling to take the risk of releasing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial film in the face of continuing protests by Rajput groups and threats issued to theatre owners.
In Indore, Central Cinema Circuit Association said its members could not screen the film in MP and Rajasthan for fear of violence. CCCA is an umbrella body of 2,000 film distributors and exhibitors of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, MP and Rajasthan. In Gujarat, many cinema hall owners didn’t want to release the film despite assurances from police.
Volatility to spike Jaipur screening
CCCA president Jai Prakash Choukse told TOI that ‘Padmaavat’ may turn out to be a blockbuster in south India, West Bengal and the northeast, but “the possibility of its release in MP and Rajasthan is nearly zero”.
“The governments in these two states are not only supporting the protest but standing as mute spectators to the open violation of law and contempt of court by these outfits,” Choukse said.
Sources said in Jaipur, some exhibitors met the distributor and others who had distributed Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films earlier. All of them concluded there was no point in releasing the film in the current volatile scenario.