The screening of Akshay Kumar-starrer Bachchan Pandey was reportedly stopped forcefully by a mob at Eylex Cinemas in Sambalpur, Odisha, after a show for The Kashmir Files scheduled that day was cancelled.
A senior police official from Sambalpur Town Police Station told Silverscreen India that no complaint has been filed regarding the situation, as yet. “The cinema hall had a seven-day license agreement with the distributors of The Kashmir Files. Once that period got over, the screenings automatically stopped. This triggered the mob as Bachchan Pandey had full-house shows. There was no political motive behind stopping the screening of shows. Once the cinema hall paid the charges, shows were resumed again.”
However, in a video tweeted by Sumit Kadel, a Film Trade analyst, the mob who stopped the screening was heard chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ along with slogans about the right-wing group Bajrang Dal. The video also showed the commotion caused by the mob who entered a hall screening Bachchan Pandey and forcefully made the audience leave the hall after stopping the screening.
Previously, in Delhi, the police were informed to make special security arrangements in areas with a “mixed population” as a precaution to ensure no communal violence is triggered, in light of the film’s release. Moreover, protests and commotion have been reported from several parts of the country like Agra against theatres to halt screenings of the film. Several social media users had also pointed out the need for a lesser number of shows in theatres.
Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, The Kashmir Files is a Hindi drama film based on the testimonies of the Kashmiri Pandit community, who had fled from the Kashmir valley in the 1990s. The film features actors Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty, Darshan Kumaar, Pallavi Joshi, Prakash Belawadi, Puneet Issar, and Atul Srivastava, among others.
On the other hand, directed by Farhad Samji, Bachchan Pandey is led by Kumar and Kriti Sanon, along with Pankaj Tripathi and Jacqueline Fernandez in supporting roles. It is a remake of the 2014 Tamil film Jigarthanda. The story revolves around a budding director trying to research on a ruthless gangster to make a film about the underworld.