'MNIK' releases in 13 Mumbai halls to huge response


Mumbai, Feb 12 (IANS) Tremendous response marked the limited release of Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "My Name Is Khan" in 13 cinema halls here Friday even as the Shiv Sena continued its protest against the film across Maharashtra.

Shiv Sainiks attempted to disrupt the screening of the film at all the 13 cinema halls here despite heavy security arrangements. The film was originally scheduled to be released in 63 movie halls in this metropolis.

Most of the cinema owners backed down after threats from Shiv Sena which is protesting Shah Rukh's comments seeking inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in this year's edition of the Indian Premier league (IPL).

Police baton charged Sena supporters at K-Star mall in Chembur and pushed back activists attempting to barge inside Fun Republic mall in Andheri West to disrupt the screening of the film Friday afternoon.

The movie opened to a full house in Fun Republic shortly after noon though its first scheduled show at 9.30 a.m. was cancelled.

In Dadar, former Lok Sabha speaker and ex-chief minister Manohar Joshi was prevented from disrupting the screening of the movie. Similar scenes were witnessed outside all 13 cinema halls where the film finally released Friday after days of uncertainty.

In a bid to boost public confidence and save the government's image, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, state Home Minister R.R. Patil and Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe purchased tickets and watched the movie at INOX cinema in south Mumbai.

INOX cinema also got a house full response to the film.

Taking a cue, other Congress leaders like Textiles Minister Naseem Khan, Mumbai North MP Sanjay Nirupam, several legislators and Municipal corporaters from the Congress and the Republican Party of India watched the movie in different cinema halls here.

Actor Kabir bedi and his daughter Pooja Bedi, several TV stars and other Bollywood personalities also followed suit.

Chavan, Patil and Bahgwe appealed to the people to come out of their homes, watch the movie and not get cowed down by threats "from a few unruly elements".

In Nagpur, Sena supporters burnt posters and vandalised Panchsheel Cinema where "My Name Is Khan" was being shown. Now the movie is scheduled to be screened there later in the day.

Shiv Sainiks also demonstrated outside cinema halls in Nashik, Ratnagiri, Sangli and Dhule.

No cinema hall in Pune and Aurangabad released the film.

Shiv Sena called for a shutdown in several parts of Mumbai Friday in protest against the release of the film.