'Jodhaa Akbar' screening disrupted in Gurgaon multiplex!

Gurgaon, Feb 17 (IANS) A group of over 150 people tried to disrupt the screening of Ashutosh Gowariker's just released epic romance "Jodhaa Akbar" at a multiplex here, shouting slogans against the film and tearing down posters.

The protesters gathered outside the PVR multiplex in Gurgaon's Metropolitan Mall, demanding that screening be halted.

The theatre stopped screening the movie for 5-10 minutes when the unruly crowd tried to get into the hall, said Satish Balan, deputy commissioner of police (Gurgaon East).

"They gathered around the mall at about 1 p.m. and wanted to stop the screening of the film. They resorted to slogan shouting. We persuaded them to go back and the screening was later resumed," Balan told IANS.

"There was no need of any arrests. The situation was amicably handled," he said, adding that security has been beefed up around PVR after the protests.

The police said the protesters, mainly from the Kshatriya (Rajput) community, were against the film because they feel Gowariker has distorted historical facts.

Starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, the three-hour, 20 minute movie was released in 26 countries Friday, but banned in Rajasthan. The Karni Sena there has been spearheading a campaign against the film for quite sometime.

The community says Gowariker is presenting Jodha Bai as Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Akbar's wife, which is factually incorrect.

According to them, Jodha Bai was not the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber as shown in the film. The princess was the daughter of Motaraja Udai Singh of Marwar and she was married to Akbar's son Salim alias Jehangir. And Mughal king Shahjahan was her son.

The Rs.400 million movie, produced by UTV Motion Pictures and Gowariker, sparked protests in Patna and Ahmedabad too.

While Pratap Sena, a small Rajput organisation, vandalised a theatre in Ahmedabad, Kshatriya Sena activists protested the screening of the film and pulled out posters at Ashok cinema hall in Patna.

Besides, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal are also up in arms against "Jodhaa Akbar" as they feel it has "objectionable dialogues" that hurt Hindu sentiments. They have threatened to launch a nation-wide agitation against the movie if these scenes are not removed.

The controversy notwithstanding, the film's box office performance is satisfactory, says Ashish Saxena of PVR Cinemas.

"Lot of clarity about the film's performance will come tomorrow, but the weekend was fantastic," Saxena said.

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