Mumbai, A large section of multiplexes and single screen theatres Thursday decided to indefinitely “postpone” the release of Shah Rukh Khan’s much-awaited “My Name Is Khan” in one of the biggest commercial entertainment territories – Mumbai and Maharashtra.
Attempting to save face of the government, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan Thursday evening reiterated that full security would be provided to all cinemas all over the state that are slated to screen the movie.
“We are not aware of the decision taken by the exhibitors. But we are ready to provide full security to the cinemas and the patrons,” Chavan told mediapersons Thursday evening.
However, most cinema owners appeared unconvinced by the government’s assurances and have decided to postpone the release of “MNIK”.
“As per current indications, the movie will not be released in Mumbai territory, considered very significant in terms of box-office revenue for any movie. However, the situation is fluid and may crystallize only later tonight (Thursday),” Theatres Owners’ Association president Rajesh Thadani told IANS late Thursday evening.
Chavan urged cinema owners to display courage by exhibiting the movie and not get cowed down by the threats of unruly elements before taking any decision on postponing the film’s screening.
Mumbai Police Commissioner D. Shivanandhan also said that adequate security has already been provided to all cinemas planning to screen the movie.
Besides Thadani, other theatre owners said their decision was prompted mainly by the luke-warm response at the box-office in view of threat perceptions among the general public.
“The bookings have been much lower than anticipated for any SRK movie. So we decided to postpone the release,” said the owner of a theatre in Andheri.
Attempting to hammer out a solution to the crisis, representatives of theatre owners and multiplexes were closeted with the movie’s producer Karan Johar at his Dharma Productions office in the western suburbs till late Thursday evening, said industry expert Vinod Mirani, editor of Box Office, a trade magazine.
Industry sources say delaying the release could lead to pirated prints flooding India, seriously damaging the box-office prospects of the movie.
Meanwhile, television channels quoted Johar as claiming that these (reports of stalling the release) were all rumours and the movie would be released as scheduled Friday.
On Thursday, Shiv Sainiks protested outside the Ashish Cinema in Chembur, Apsara in Mumbai Central, and other cinema halls in Sangli, Ratnagiri and Aurangabad against the SRK movie.