Mumbai, July 28 (IANS) Protesting Congress activists forced cancellation of shows of Madhur Bhandarkar’s latest release “Indu Sarkar” in different parts of the state on Friday, even as most critics have panned the film, which is based on the Emergency.
The film, which features characters who bear resemblance to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi, released to a lukewarm response at the box office.
The film was screened in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Kolhapur and other cities amid tight police security in place to prevent any untoward incident.
However, Congress activists, led by the party’s Thane district unit President Manoj Shinde, barged inside the INOX Cinema in Korum Mall and raised slogans condemning the film and Bhandarkar.
The belligerent activists even climbed on the stage near the screen and shouted slogans, even against the Bharatiya Janata Party governments in Maharashra and at the Centre.
“This is a deliberate attempt to damage the image of our late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who contributed so much for the country. We will not allow the film to be screened,” Shinde told media persons later.
Finally, the theatre decided to cancel the show and refunded the ticket amount to all the patrons.
Similar demonstrations were held outside INOX theatre in neighbouring Kalyan in the district, leading to cancellation of the morning and afternoon shows.
In Jalgaon, Congressmen attempted to barge into the Natwar theatres, and when stopped by the police they vandalised the film’s posters outside. The show was finally cancelled.
The Nashik Congress activists staged protests outside Fame cinemas, compelling the theatre management to cancel the morning shows.
In Nanded, all four local theatres relented and cancelled shows after Congress activists marched there and demanded that screening be stopped.
Mumbai-based film distributor Rajesh Thadani told IANS on Friday that some people halted screenings and the “response to the film is not that encouraging”.
“The film witnessed 5 to 10 per cent occupancy in morning shows on Friday, but due to positive word of mouth, the film might collect a decent amount in the coming days,” he said.
The much-anticipated political drama was released after the Supreme Court granted its clearance on Thursday.
As far as the reviews are concerned, most critics have panned the film for being a “watered down” version in which Bhandarkar has failed to achieve “political neutrality”.
Veteran critic Shubhra Gupta has commented: “Even with a sympathetic government and a pliant CBFC, what we get is a watered-down, bloodless version of that time.”
On the contrary, trade gurus like Taran Adarsh and Komal Nahta have spoken positively of the drama.
“‘Indu Sarkar’: Engrossing. Madhur Bhandarkar returns to form… Captivating drama… Post-interval portions pack solid punch,” Adarsh tweeted.
Nahta shared: “‘Indu Sarkar’ is good content, well narrated by Madhur Bhandarkar. Kirti Kulhari excels in the title role.”
Starring Kirti Kulhari, Tota Roy Chowdhary, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Supriya Vinod and Anupam Kher in pivotal roles, “Indu Sarkar” was mired in controversy with the censor board initially suggesting 12 cuts and two disclaimers. The revising committee ultimately settled for two cuts and one disclaimer and a few beeps.
The much-anticipated political drama, based on the Emergency imposed during 1975-77, was released after the Supreme Court granted it clearance on Thursday, dismissing a plea filed by a woman claiming to be the biological daughter of Sanjay Gandhi.