After the super success, Sairat exhibitors have to contend with unruly crowds and law and order problems

By Manishaa R

Exhibitors in Maharashtra who were earlier jubilant about the super success of the Marathi film Sairat are lately facing a peculiar situation of a law and order problem at their theatres where the film is being screened. According to an exhibitor who spoke on the condition of anonymity, young audiences who are hooked to the film are creating a ruckus in the auditorium, dancing to the beats of the songs in the films, damaging seats and at times proceeding to the stage. “It is a tricky situation because they are all repeat audiences and they refuse to listen to warnings. While whistling and screaming are still acceptable, some of the teenage crowds are creating a lot of commotion standing right in front of the stage and swinging to the numbers in the film. It is unwarranted and creates problems for the other law abiding people,” this exhibitor revealed. According to Pune exhibitor and single-screen exhibitor, Prakash Chaphalkar, “I initially learnt that it was happening at my theatres but later I found out that it was happening at practically every theatre in Maharashtra. It is difficult to reprimand the crowds because it may simply backfire and create a bigger problem. A couple of exhibitors called the police when they noticed that things were going out of control but the police in turn has put the onus of maintaining law and order on us. They have given us in writing that we will be solely responsible for any law and order problem. Moreover they have also threatened to cancel licenses of the cinemas, if the owners are unable to contain the law and order in their theatres.” Chaphalkar and some other exhibitors are now planning to appoint security guards at a heavy price to check the problem, “We have no other option. We are worried because the screens at some of our outlets are very expensive. They are all 3D silver screens and we fear that they may be damaged in all the commotion.” According to another exhibitor, it is difficult to control excited crowds, “You cannot do anything against them. The big question is who will bear the costs if the theatres are damaged. On the other hand, if we discontinue the film at our theatres, we will be accountable to the distributor.”

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