A screening of the film ‘The Accidental Prime Minister‘ was interrupted at a multiplex in a posh Kolkata mall on Friday by a group of West Bengal Congress workers who forced their way in and vandalised the theatre.
Protesters carrying Congress flags entered an Inox multiplex in central Kolkata’s Quest Mall around 8 pm while the screening of the film was about to start and tore up the screen.
The Congress activists also allegedly threatened the viewers to immediately leave the auditorium and claimed they would not allow the film to be screened anywhere as its content is “disrespectful” towards the senior party leaders.
“The film is an insult towards our senior leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. We have stopped the screening here. We will not allow the film to be screened anywhere,” Congress leader Rakesh Singh, who led the demonstrators, was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
Some of the protesters were heard shouting slogans like “Rahul Gandhi Zinabad… Congress Zindabad (hail Rahul Gadhi and Congress)” inside the auditorium, IANS reported.
However, the screening of the film continued after a brief interruption. “With the help of the police, the situation was taken under control and the normal screening continued,” a spokesperson for Inox said.
The theatre said it will not cancel screenings of the movie.
The Inox theatre was not the only cinema hall to face trouble over the film. Congress activists also protested outside Indira cinema hall in the Bhwanipore area of south Kolkata and a demonstration was also reported outside a cinema hall at Siliguri in North Bengal.
Senior state Congress leaders distanced themselves from the demonstrations and said they do not support such protests.
“We do not support any acts of vandalism. It should not have happened. It is true that the film is funded by BJP. It is a propaganda film and several BJP leaders are promoting it. Our supporters are deeply hurt because the film tends to insult the party,” senior Congress leader Om Prakash Misra said.
The Youth Congress also disassociated itself from the protests it said there is no question of protesting the film and the organisation believed in the freedom of expression.
Earlier today, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the film was a distortion aimed at misleading people. It pointed fingers without evidence, she said.
“Soon someone will make a film called ‘The Disastrous Prime Minister’ or ‘The Communal Prime Minister’. This is a Pandora’s Box and this chapter must be closed quickly,” Ms Banerjee said.
Based on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s term in office, ‘The Accidental Prime Minister‘ has been criticised by Congress leaders as a propaganda film promoted by the BJP ahead of general elections this year, but the party has said it won’t ban the film in states it rules.
(With inputs from IANS)