Hyderabad, Sept. 6: Dad Chiranjeevi tried but couldn’t help unshackle son Ram Charan Teja’s Zanjeer on home turf.
The Union minister’s attempts to tap his political clout to ensure the film released unhindered by united Andhra and pro-Telangana protests floundered today as protesters blocked screenings.
The Samaikyandhra demonstrators accuse Chiranjeevi of not strongly opposing Andhra’s proposed bifurcation.
Pro-Telangana groups are angry after he said Hyderabad should be separated and made a Union territory.
Nothing seemed to work today. Not Chiranjeevi’s appeals, nor the high court-ordered police deployment at theatres showing Zanjeer and Toofan — the Hindi and Telugu remakes of the 1973 Amitabh Bachchan blockbuster.
Screening was disrupted in almost 90 per cent of the 1,000-odd theatres where it was released, with some not able to complete the day’s first shows as protesters laid siege and ripped off posters. In several trouble spots, the cops remained mute spectators as the agitators went on the rampage.
Chiranjeevi’s family isn’t a stranger to such movie misery. At the height the Telangana movement, the leader’s films as well as that of brother Pawan Kalyan and son Ram Charan had faced the ire of protesters.
Chiranjeevi’s detractors say only business interests are close to his heart. Shankar, among the crop of young Telugu directors, questioned the focus on Ram Charan’s films when several others have been roiled by agitations over the past few months.
Industry sources estimate that the Seemandhra protests have hit 40 films, leading to losses of Rs 300 crore. Varaprasad, the chairperson of the Andhra Film Chamber of Commerce, called for the industry to be kept out of agitations.
Hyderabad is bracing for a showdown tomorrow between pro-Telangana and united Andhra camps over a protest venue.
The Save Andhra Pradesh meeting is being organised at a city stadium by an association of non-gazetted employees from the Seemandhra region.
The pro-Telangana groups allege they were denied permission to hold rally on the same day at the stadium and have threatened to hold a demonstration at the venue.
Prohibitory orders have been imposed and over 16,000 cops are being deployed, police chief Anurag Sharma said. The build-up is reminiscent of a pro-Telangana blockade of the Assembly on June 14 this year.