The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gangaajal stalled

Patna, Aug. 29: Supporters of Sadhu Yadav, chief minister Rabri Devi’s brother, rushed in today where Allahabad High Court had refused to tread.

On Wednesday, Yadav had moved court seeking a stay on the release of Gangaajal, Prakash Jha’s celluloid account of the 1979-80 Bhagalpur blindings. He complained that Jha had tarnished his image by giving the main villain of his film the same name as him.

The director clarified that his villain had nothing in common with Yadav other than the name, but the Gopalganj legislator was not satisfied. When the high court declined to stay the film’s release, Yadav’s supporters took matters into their own hands. The activists, belonging to the Rashtriya Janata Dal, stormed two cinema halls here that were about to screen Gangaajal and intimidated film-goers and cinema owners, tearing off posters and ransacking the place.

They attacked Apsara cinema at noon, warning its staff not to screen the film. Yadav’s supporters shut down the booking counter even as a theatre employee begged them not to disrupt the show.

After vandalising the place, they approached Veena cinema with several photographers. The protesters broke windowpanes, tore posters and chased away employees. Veena cinema manager Vidyanand Jha said he had decided not to screen the film till the controversy was resolved. The Apsara management voiced similar sentiments.

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