New Delhi, “My Name Is Khan” opened to packed houses in about 70 halls in the capital and its suburbs Friday. The hype around the film, thanks to the Shiv Sena’s stand-off with superstar Shah Rukh Khan, attracted curious cinemagoers in droves to watch the film.
According to police, except for an incident of vandalism in west Delhi, the movie was released without any problem in the rest of the National Capital Region.
Some drunken youths vandalised Satyam Janak Place cinema hall in Janakpuri where the movie was to be screened. They were not affiliated to any political group, police said.
However, the hall sold 80 percent of the tickets for the first show, its officials said.
PVR Priya saw 80-90 percent occupancy and long queues of people who wanted to see the film.
“I was not scared about security when I decided to go for the film. First of all, there has been no problem in Delhi and secondly, there is police all round,” Purva Mehta, who came to watch the film at PVR Priya, told IANS.
It reaffirmed the fact that Delhiites are eager to watch the Shah Rukh and Kajol starrer, Mehta said.
Kaveri Jha, a housewife, said the hype around the film has led to more people going to watch it.
“After so much hype has been created, it becomes a point that we come and watch it. It’s out of curiosity that maximum people are coming to watch the film,” she said.
The audiences hailed the film saying it was worth the effort.
“I loved the movie. Kajol and Shah Rukh are looking amazing together. It’s been a while since we saw them together. Quite refreshing to see them and plus they have done a good job,” said Shobhita Sen, 18.
Theatre owners are happy over the audience response.
“The response has been very good. We are seeing around 90 percent occupancy in most shows. Police have been deployed so there is no security hassle as well,” Amit Awasthi, manager (programming and operations) of Spice Cinemas, told IANS.
Jayendra Banerji, vice president (operations) of Satyam Cineplexes, said: “The first show at 10.15 a.m. got about 80 percent occupancy which is very decent.”
Set in post 9/11 US, “My Name Is Khan” released with over 2,000 prints worldwide Friday. It has been in the news after Shiv Sena activists decided to “ban” the film in Mumbai.
The decision came soon after Shah Rukh commented that Pakistani cricketers should be allowed to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Even though the film is still witnessing problems in Mumbai, Delhi’s response has been heart-warming.
Of the 70 cinema halls where the film was released, 10 are single screens in the NCR region and the owners are content with the response.
“We had opened our bookings for the film on Monday. I can’t give you the percentage of people coming for the film, but I can say it is good,” said an official from Sangam cinema hall in R.K. Puram.
Officials at Lajpat Nagar’s 3C’s had a similar story to tell.
“We were expecting a good response for the film and it has been true. Almost all shows are going house full,” said a representative at the theatre.
Security measures have been taken care of with police deployment outside almost every theatre in the capital.
“The movie is going on peacefully… there are no security issues. Whatever is the problem it is basically in Mumbai. In Delhi there is not much to be dealt with,” said a policeman on duty outside PVR Priya in Vasant Vihar.