| A rapt audience at the screening of a National Geographic documentary on The Da Vinci Code. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
The light has turned green, but the logistics remain red.
The Da Vinci Code, cleared by the censor board on Thursday, has missed the May 19 bus and will probably have to wait in queue till next Friday for a city release.
The inclusion of the disclaimer ('the film is a work of fiction') at the beginning and end of the two-and-a-half-hour Ron Howard movie in every print being distributed in India, and the scramble for screens have ruled out a Friday the 19th release.
Taking a cue from the Mumbai office, east India distributor Arijit Dutta told Metro late on Thursday: 'If the film is ready to be released by next Friday, we shall be going full throttle with the same chain of theatres (Nandan, INOX, Globe and Priya).'
That sets the stage for a Friday big fight: The Da Vinci Code vs Fanaa.
'Yes, Aamir-Kajol's Fanaa may release on the same day, but I am confident The Code will be bigger in terms of number of screens,' said Dutta.
With The Da Vinci Code not releasing this Friday, multiplexes and standalone theatres have had to fill up their screens with the only new release of the week, Vikram Bhatt's Ankahee. 'We have also gone for more shows of films that were doing well, like 36 China Town and Gangster,' revealed an INOX spokesperson.
At Nandan, wait-and-watch was the order of the day ' and maybe the week. 'We are aware of the official clearance the film has got. But the distributors said they wouldn't be able to release it until they got a revised certificate from the censor board,' said Nandan CEO Nilanjan Chatterjee.
This Friday or next, a glimpse of the film fever set to grip the city was provided by the crowd crush at the screening of National Geographic documentary Unlocking Da Vinci's Code: The Full Story at Crossword bookstore on Thursday.
The documentary on the contentious core of the Dan Brown bestseller ' the supposed marriage of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene ' drew many who had planned to catch the film this weekend.
The popular mood at the Elgin Road store was 'let's watch the movie and form our own opinion'.
Shubhashree, a 28-year-old bank employee, said: 'I can't wait for the movie to open. I've read the book, I've even watched the Nat Geo documentary on TV, but I'm here to refresh my memory.'
Oxford Bookstore continued to play it safe on Thursday by not selling the book, but following the film's clearance, a panel discussion on the Code has been set for May 27.