A group of West Bengal Congress workers on Friday allegedly interrupted the screening of The Accidental Prime Minister at a Kolkata multiplex and vandalised the theatre, IANS reported.
The protestors carried Congress flags and allegedly entered an auditorium in central Kolkata’s Quest Mall around 8 pm when the film was about to begin. They damaged the movie screen, leading to the show’s cancellation.
The protestors allegedly asked viewers to immediately leave the auditorium and claimed they would not allow the film to be shown anywhere. “The film is an insult towards our senior leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh,” said Congress leader Rakesh Singh who led the protests. “We have stopped the screening here. We will not allow the film to be screened anywhere.”
However, a spokesperson for INOX told NDTV that the screening was only briefly interrupted. “With the help of the police, the situation was taken under control and the normal screening continued,” he added. The theatre said it would not cancel screenings of the movie.
A screening in central Kolkata’s Hind Cinema Hall was also cancelled earlier on Friday due to “security reasons” after Youth Congress activists demonstrated outside. According to viewers at the theatre, the show was cancelled after 10 minutes on its opening day.
Another group of Congress supporters allegedly tried to stop a screening at Indira Cinema Hall in south Kolkata. However, they were thwarted as the theatre authorities informed the police.
State Congress leaders dissociated themselves from the protests, with West Bengal Culture Minister Indranil Sen clarifying that the state government had not given any instructions to stop the screening.
Senior Congress leader Om Prakash Misra said that although the film had “deeply hurt” the party’s supporters, the protests should not have happened. “We do not support any acts of vandalism,” he said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday had questioned the timing of the movie’s release ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and claimed such films were made by twisting facts. The Trinamool Congress chief also said that if people were making such a movie, films like “The Disastrous PM” should also be made, in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.