Bhopal/Indore/Gwalior: Some right-wing organisations held protests against the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "Pathaan" in parts of Madhya Pradesh on the day of the film's release on Wednesday, forcing some theatres in Indore and Bhopal to cancel the morning shows.
The film has been opposed by some segments who claim that its song called "Besharam Rang" hurts the sentiments of Hindus.
In Bhopal, Bajrang Dal activists staged a protest at Rangmahal Cinema Hall and forced the theatre owner to remove the poster of "Pathaan". The protesters also torn the film's posters.
When asked about the protests by the right-wing organisations outside the cinema halls, Bhopal's Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sachin Kumar Atulkar told PTI that police force has been deployed at these establishments following the protests.
"No untoward incident was reported from anywhere. As per the information I have received, no show was cancelled, but we cannot say if the cinema hall owners have taken a decision to this effect on their own," he said.
Bhopal's Bajrang Dal joint-convenor Abhijeet Singh Rajput said the activists of his organisation staged protests at three to four cinema halls, including Rangmahal and Bharat in the city, and got the posters removed.
People were urged not to watch the movie, he said.
When asked, the owner of Rangmahal Cinema Hall, Ranveer Singh told PTI that the first show of "Pathaan" was cancelled due to the protest, while other shows are being held normally.
In Indore, the activists of the Hindu Jagran Manch showed saffron flags at Sapna-Sangeeta cinema hall in protest against the movie and recited Hanuman Chalisa, eyewitnesses said, adding that some of them were also seen carrying sticks.
Some of the protesters entered the theatre and asked the audience to move out.
The protesters said they would not allow the movie to be screened in the cinema hall.
Besides, Bajrang Dal activists also staged a protest against "Pathaan" at Kastur cinema hall in the city and shouted slogans against Shah Rukh Khan.
Police security was deployed at both the theatres in view of the protests by right-wing organisations.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Dishesh Agrawal said, "Activists of the Hindu Jagran Manch and Bajrang Dal have been protesting against the film 'Pathaan'. Hence, some of its morning shows were cancelled." Asked about further shows of the movie, he said an appropriate decision will be taken considering the law and order situation.
In Gwalior, the Bajrang Dal activists staged a protest and road blockade outside the multiplex located in Deendayal Mall.
Eyewitnesses said that the police force didn't allow the protesters to go inside so they staged a protest on the road.
Bajrang Dal's Gwalior district secretary Raju Goswami said that they held a peaceful protest to demand that the screening of the movie be stopped.
The protest will be intensified later if the screening continues, he said.
Gwalior's Superintendent of Police (SP) Amit Sanghi said that police force was deployed at the cinema halls that were screening the movie and no show was cancelled in the city.
"Pathaan" has been battling controversy and calls for a ban over its song "Besharam Rang", also featuring Deepika Padukone. A sequence in the song showing Padukone in a saffron bikini led to protests across India for allegedly hurting "Hindu sentiments".
The Central Board of Film Certification had directed the makers of "Pathaan" to implement "changes" in the movie, including its songs, in accordance with board guidelines, CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi said last month.
The CBFC had asked production banner Yash Raj Films to submit the revised version of the spy action thriller before its release, Joshi said.