| Citizens brave long queues to buy tickets for shows of Aarakshan at Regent in Patna. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, Aug. 12: Residents of the state capital had no reservations about Aarakshan. Most of the movie-watchers found nothing objectionable in it.
Eighteen shows of the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer, which has found itself in the eye of the storm because of its controversial subject of caste-based reservations in educational institutions, were screened at Mona, Regent and Cinepolis on the day of its release. While the multiplex screened 12 shows on its four screens, Mona and Regent had two and four shows each.
Lodhipur Colony resident Rupesh Kumar, who caught the first show of the day at Cinepolis, said: “I did not find anything offensive in the film. It is a must-watch, and deserves a round of applause. It does not hurt the feelings of any community. Films mirror our society. If a director has tried to hold up a mirror, what’s wrong with that?”
Ashish Shukla, the all-India head of exhibition of Cinepolis, said: “Eighty per cent of the tickets have been booked for the next four days. We got a great response from the people. We also got the support of the police. Though we did not face any problem, it’s always good to take precautionary measures.”
Around two dozen constables were deployed at the multiplex to prevent any untoward incident. At other cinemas, too, there were police pickets.
On the ban on the film in other states, Shukla said: “We want people to watch the film. The ban is really a big disappointment for the distributors. I hope that the film will get the clearance from the apex court.”
For some of the audience members, the issue of caste-based reservations, which has led to the film being banned in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, was not a matter of great concern. Punjab has agreed to a conditional release of the film, though.
“The issue of reservation does not matter to me. I don’t want to know about it,” said Arvind Mahila College student Sweta Kumari, who saw the film at Mona. “I loved the film. I have watched all Saif and Amitabh movies. As far as the film is concerned, it is entertaining. Deepika looks nice in it.”
Opposition politicians were, however, not convinced that the film was harmless. A 10-member RJD delegation led by state unit president Ram Chandra Purbey went to see Aarakshan at Mona today. They came out and voiced concerns. “Some dialogues in the film are objectionable. Reservation has been compared to khairat (donation) whereas it is a constitutional right. RJD condemns this film strongly,” said Purvey after the show.
Members of the party had burnt an effigy of chief minister Nitish Kumar yesterday to protest against the decision of the state government to allow the film to release.