Controversial Hindi film PADMAAVAT was screened across Punjab and Haryana on Thursday to a good response from viewers amid tension and security around multiplexes and cinema halls in both the states.
With scores of armed policemen and private guards stationed in and around the multiplexes and cinema halls, most shows reported high to full occupancy.
Haryana Director General of Police B.S. Sandhu said in Chandigarh that the film was being screened incident-free in 33 cinema halls across nine districts in Haryana. "No disturbance has been reported from anywhere."
Cinema hall owners at many places, however, opted not to screen the film in view of threats of violence from members of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena and other groups who are opposed to it claiming it distorts Rajput history.
While no major incident was reported on Thursday from Punjab and Chandigarh, minor incidents of protestors coming to cinema halls in Rewari, Jind and Sonepat in Haryana and Zirakpur in adjoining Chandigarh were reported.
However, the heavy security arrangement ensured that nothing untoward happened.
In Haryana, authorities imposed Section 144 Cr.PC to prevent assembly of five of more people around cinema halls. A total of 54 companies of police were deployed near cinema halls. Most were stationed in Gurugram and Faridabad adjoining Delhi.
Security personnel were deployed outside leading malls and cinema halls where the film was screened. The Haryana and Punjab Police did not want to take any chances in view of the violence witnessed in Gurugram on Wednesday.
Cinema hall managers said the film was getting a good response.
"We normally have 5-6 shows every day for films. But for PADMAAVAT, we have 12 shows daily in view of the high demand," a cinema hall owner in Sirsa town in Haryana said.
The BJP government in Haryana had earlier imposed a ban on screening of the film in the state but the Supreme Court stayed the ban.
Screening of the film went on under tight security in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and other places in Punjab.
In Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, PADMAAVAT got off to a good start in malls and cinema halls.