Most of the multiplexes and cinema halls in major cities of Gujarat on Tuesday refrained from screening Mahesh Bhatt's film 'Tum Mile' following demand by the Mahagujarat Janta Party (MJP) for state-wide ban on it, while at couple of places party workers forced closure of the film shows by ransacking the cinemahalls.
MJP had demanded ban following reports that Bhatt's son Rahul had an acquaintance with David Headley, the US national, arrested by FBI for allegedly plotting attacks in India at the LeT's behest.
According to the Multiplex Association of Gujarat, no formal instructions have been issued in this regard to its members but, most of them have decided not to screen the Imran Hashmi and Soha Ali Khan starrer film released last week.
Amit Bhavsar of the MJP said that the Apsara and Aradhna theatres in Kankaria area of the city tried to screen the film 'Tum Mile'.
MJP is lead by Gordhan Zadafia, ex-state home minister in the Narendra Modi government, during whose term the infamous 2002 riots took place. Zadafia along with some of the BJP rebels had later formed the MJP.
"We had to force the theatre owner to cancel screening of the film in Aradhna and Apsara theatre. All the multiplex in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Anand, Nadiad have adhered to our demand and cancelled the screening of the Mahesh Bhatt film," Bhavsar said.
According, to police, the MJP workers had done slogan shouting and broken a few windows of the theatre.
They said that there was no formal complaint lodged agaist the MJP workers.
In Rajkot, multiplex Comsmoplex, canceled screening of the film on Tuesday. City MJP workers had shouted slogans against Mahesh Bhatt and burst crackers inside the cinema hall and destroyed posters of the film forcing audience to leave the theatre.
In Surat, some 15 members of the MJP were detained by police while they were protesting against screening of the Bhatt film in some cinema halls. Later they were released.
The film is being screened in some places in the state capital Gandhinagar, sources said.
Zadafia had said that his party has asked for a state-wide ban of the film 'Tum Mile'.
Mahesh Bhatt's son Rahul Bhatt feels he has been betrayed by his friend David Coleman Headley. Rahul said this in so many words in an interview to Hindustan Times.
The 27-year-old aspiring actor, son of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, says:
“As a friend, I feel betrayed by Headley. He seemed like a regular, friendly guy… and I feel betrayed by the media for making up this image of me.”
Rahul and his fitness trainer friend Vilas Pandurang Varak (31) helped police and intelligence officials with key leads about their some-time friend David Coleman Headley, under arrest in the United States for his alleged links with the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and suspected plans to carry out terrorist attacks in India.
Authorities have not said Rahul is a suspect, but want to know about his friendship with Headley, a US citizen of Pakistani origin whose former name is Daood Gilani.
“As a friend, I feel betrayed by Headley,” the tall, muscular Bhatt told Hindustan Timesin his first interview after the controversy broke. “He seemed like a regular, friendly guy… and I feel betrayed by the media for making up this image of me.”
Bhatt said he first met Headley at a bodybuilding competition in early 2007 where both were among the spectators.
He said they went out for lunches and movies with Varak, who has already been questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Headley was passionate about fitness, and military Special Forces. He told Bhatt and Varak about the Delta Force of the US military and the top-secret force called Special Activities Division of the CIA that carries out covert political action and paramilitary operations.
“He claimed to have done a stint with the US army,” said Bhatt. “I always wondered whether he was a CIA agent and used to jokingly call him Agent Headley.”
“I don't go out, it's weighing on my mind. I don't have many friends — but most acquaintances have not called,” Bhatt said. “But I am not frightened. My conscience is clear. My slate is clean. The media hoopla is just ridiculous.”
Bhatt, expected to be questioned by the NIA soon, said he was pained that his name had still not been officially cleared in the investigation.
“I did my duty as a citizen, I'm happy to helped the police,” he told Hindustan Times. “But it's tragic, what has followed.”