Central & South Asia
Mumbai defies threat over film
Shahrukh Khan's new film opens to packed theatres despite call for a boycott.
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2010 12:29 GMT
 Police have been deployed outside cinemas in many cities following the Shiv Sena's threats [AFP]

Major cinemas in Mumbai have defied a Hindu nationalist group that demanded a boycott on a new film by Shahrukh Khan, the Bollywood superstar, after he spoke in support of Pakistani cricketers.

Shiv Sena, a Mumbai-centered political party, vowed to disrupt showing "My Name is Khan", which hit cinemas in India's financial capital on Friday.

More than 21,000 police guarded over 60 theatres, as Shiv Sena activists attempted to disrupt the screening at some places.

Police detained at least 40 protesters, television news channel CNN-IBN, reported.

The boycott demand did not dissuade film goers however, with tickets at the multiplexes that screened the first showings of the film reportedly selling out within hours.

'Huge fan'

"I came to see the movie because it's been so controversial, and because I am a huge fan of Shahrukh Khan," Subhash Kandrep, who was queueing outside one of the cinemas, was reported by the Reuters news agency as saying.

"I don't see why a movie should not be shown just because some people are protesting over what Khan said"

Subhash Kandrep,
Shahrukh Khan fan

"I don't see why a movie should not be shown just because some people are protesting over what Khan said."

Shiv Sena mounted its protests after recent comments by Khan that Pakistani players should have been chosen to participate in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament to be held next month.

Manohar Joshi, a senior Shiv Sena leader, who led a group of supporters to a film theatre, said that Shiv Sena would allow screenings but only after Khan apologises.

Khan, who is Muslim, has refused to do so.

Khan's new film is set in the US against the backdrop of the September 11 attacks on New York and traces the journey of a Muslim man who suffers from Asperger's syndrome.

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