Karnataka theatres avoid screening Rajinikanth's 'Kaala' amid protests

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Pa Ranjith has directed this film.

Regretting that thousands of fans in the state, especially in cosmopolitan Bengaluru were being denied their legitimate right to watch a Rajinikanth movie, Sambargi said a bad precedence was being set despite the court's directive to allow its screening under police protection, as the exhibitors fear reprisal from the fringe elements and irrational protestors.

Chennai/Bengaluru: Far from the fanfare associated with superstar Rajinikanth movies, the Tamil filmstar's movie Kaala saw muted response on Thursday in many parts of Chennai and Bengaluru alike, mostly due to the controversial statements made by the actor-turned-politician on issues like the recent Thoothukudi violence as well as on the contentious issue of Cauvery river water sharing.

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Armed with the recent High Court order directing the government "to take adequate steps to ensure a peaceful atmosphere for the screening of the film", Karnataka's film distributors have chose to go ahead with the release. Our honour and Kannada pride are at stake.

On Wednesday, the Madras high court refused to stay the release of Kaala based on a plea that claimed that the film projected Thiraviyam Nadar and his family in bad light. It might take another Superstar film to beat this remarkable feat.

Trade analyst Atul Mohan says that the buzz for this one is low despite having known faces from Hindi cinema like Nana Patekar, Huma Qureshi and Pankaj Tripathi. "I would imagine, (given) the socio-political stand Rajini Sir has taken in the past one year, people might have started looking at him differently from the demi-god that he used to be", said Pookutty. Rajinikanth's film must not run. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had requested the distributor of "Kaala" not to release it in "this kind of atmosphere", but assured that his government would follow the high court order on the issue. With a day to go before the film hits theatres, the film has already earned Rs. 230 crore from its theatrical and music rights.Rajinikanth and Pa. Ranjith's previous film, "Kabali", had minted Rs. 218 crore ahead of its release. Even the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) is reportedly disappointed with Thalaivar over his comments on Cauvery water issue.

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