Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s public appeal for a boycott of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s contentious Padmaavat film and the press release issued by the Ahmedabad police listing the names of multiplexes where the film was scheduled to be released seem to have given vandals—allegedly from the Karni Sena—the leeway to plan and execute the violence in which dozens of vehicles were burnt and shops and showrooms vandalized.
Patel issued the public appeal after the Supreme Court of India turned down a plea seeking a ban on the screening of the film. “Just boycott the film if you have an objection to its screening,” the deputy chief minister said on Tuesday.
But why would movie buffs respond to the minister’s appeal and not watch the Deepika Padukone starrer now that it has attracted so much publicity?
In order to ensure that no viewer turns up to watch Padmaavat, the Karni Sena’s game plan appears to be to create panic through vandalism and violence.
Unlike other popular movies that are promoted through posters, hoardings and newspaper advertisements, there has been no publicity blitzkrieg for Padmaavat. So, how did the Karni Sena know which multiplexes were planning to screen the film?
In fact, there was utter confusion among the public, with no certain knowledge as to which theatres were going to screen the movie.
The city police, in its enthusiasm for publicity, issued a press release with the names of the multiplexes and the security measures it had initiated for the safety of the public.
The police, knowing how volatile the situation is, could have an adequate police force, in uniform and plain clothes, quietly and without much brouhaha.
Nachiketa Desai is a senior journalist based in Ahmedabad and tweets at @nachiketadesai. The views expressed are his own.