Protests hindered the screening of actor Rajinikanth’s film Kaala in Karnataka on the day of its international release on Thursday, PTI reported. On Wednesday, the actor-turned-politician had appealed to people to allow the film, directed by Pa Ranjith, to be released in Karnataka.

The film was screened in about 100 halls across the state on Thursday. On Friday, the day of its full-fledged release, the film is expected to be screened in 250 theatres, The New Indian Express reported.

Theatres across the state, barring two in Ballari and Raichur districts, refused to screen the film on Thursday, PTI reported. Protestors held demonstrations outside theatres in Bengaluru asking fans to not watch the film.

Producer and distributor Kanakapura Srinivas told The New Indian Express that he was getting 250 theatres to agree to screening of the film from Friday onwards. “The list of theatres will later be sent to the police commissioner to ensure security at these theatres,” Srinivas said. “The tedious process is happening at the last minute. I will get a clear picture on the exact number of theatres only on Thursday.”

On May 29, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce had decided not to screen Kaala after several local organisations demanded a ban on the film, citing Rajinikanth’s comments on the sharing of Cauvery water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. On May 20, Rajinikanth had told reporters that it was Karnataka’s duty to obey the orders of the Supreme Court on sharing the river’s water.

Court orders

On Tuesday, the Karnataka High Court had refused to interfere with the ban. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had asked the film’s distributor to refrain from screening the film in this “kind of atmosphere”, but said that his government would comply with high court’s decision order to provide increased security.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the release of the film. The apex court was hearing a petition filed by KS Rajashekaran, who had alleged that the producer of Kaala had used his copyright-protected work without prior permission.