The screening of controversial film “Padmaavat” began in theatres across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh amid tight security on Thursday. The film was released in about 300 theatres in both the Telugu states and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere till noon, officials said.
Policemen were posted at single-screen theatres and multiplexes in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad as tight security arrangements were made to foil any protest by Rajput groups. Tight security was in place at Tivoli theatre in Secunderabad where a group of youth tore a “Padmaavat” poster and raised slogans against filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali two days ago.
The screening of “Padmaavat” in Hindi and Telugu began to full houses at dozens of theatres in Hyderabad.
With BJP legislator T. Raja Singh, who had earlier threatened to burn down the theatres screening the movie, softening his stand, the city’s police were not anticipating any trouble. However, as a precautionary measure, police personnel were deployed at theatres.
Raja Singh, a member of Telangana legislative assembly, had earlier called upon people to boycott the movie, saying an attempt is being made to denigrate Rajput community. The MLA, who represents Goshamahal constituency in Hyderabad, had even announced that he will bail out youth if they are arrested for setting afire the theatres.
Singh, himself a Rajput, told the media on Thursday that leaders of various Hindu organizations who watched the movie found that Bhansali has deleted all scenes in which Rajput queen Padmavati was shown in poor light. He claimed that the filmmaker removed the objectionable scenes out of fear following strong protests.
The BJP leader, however, suggested that leaders of the Hindu organizations in the city watch the movie. “If you still find something objectionable, do whatever you want, we are with you,” he said. The movie, featuring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, is based on 16th century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s poem “Padmavat”.