Protests by Bajrang Dal activists against Aamir Khan blockbuster ‘PK’ spread to more places today even as a saddened Rajkumar Hirani, the film’s director, rejected allegations that it was disrespectful to Hinduism and said it upheld the true spirit of religion.
Activists of right-wing outfits Bajrang Dal and Hindu Sena staged a protest outside a cinema hall in Central Delhi, demanding a ban on the film for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
The demonstrators also burned posters of the movie, which takes a swipe at organised religion and godmen, and demanded that an FIR be registered against its makers and the star cast.
“Some agitators staged a protest outside Delite cinema. They were detained and taken to the nearby police station,” said a senior police official.
Protesters also raised slogans against the movie demanding ban on its screening across the country.
In Uttar Pradesh, the activists of Hindu Yuva Vahini entered the premises of ‘Prasad Talkies’ in Bareilly, tore posters of the film, forced the theatre officials to cancel the show besides burning the effigy of Aamir Khan.
In a statement, Hirani, 52 , said he had no intention to hurt anyone’s sentiments and maintained that the Aamir Khan-starrer upholds the true spirit of religion while condemning “only the abuse” of it.
“I’m deeply saddened and concerned about the protests by some groups against our film ‘PK’. On behalf of the entire team of ‘PK’, I would like to clarify that we respect all religions and faiths,” he said.
“Our film is inspired by the ideas of Sant Kabir and Mahatma Gandhi. It is a film, which brings to fore the thought that all humans who inhabit this planet are the same. There are no differences,” he said
He appealed to the protesting groups to see the film in totality and not just isolated scenes. “Our intention is not to hurt anyone, or to discriminate against any religion. I would once again like to assure them that I have the highest regard towards all religions, and that we respect all religions and faiths.”
The film, which was released across the country on December 19, has already earned Rs 246.32 crore at the Indian box office.
In an escalation of protests yesterday, Bajrang Dal activists vandalised theatres in Ahmedabad and other cities in Gujarat exhibiting the film and warned that its screening be stopped.
Besides Gujarat, the right wing activists also staged protests in Agra and Mau in Uttar Pradesh and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and tore posters of the film. One theatre in south Mumbai’s Parel had stopped screening of the film.
“Condemn acts of vandalism by Bajrang Dal and other fringe elements against movie PK. Would (PM Narendra) Modi ask CM Gujarat to act against Hooligans?
“Or at least condemn it on his Twitter ? No he won’t because he believes in what his Hooligan Bajrang Dal Gang is doing. Ugly face of Fascism,” party general secretary Digvijay Singh tweeted.
Former Union Minister Manish Tewari said the attack on PK “assaults” the freedom of speech and expression.
“The BJP govt is complicit in its silence. Why are advocates of free speech silent?,” he tweeted.
Yoga guru Ramdev said that tradition and faith of people should not be hurt.
“The film PK, as people have told me, has two things. One, it contains objectionable scenes of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, which is not right.
“But secondly, it has exposed those people who misuse the name of God for their personal profit and call themselves as God. However, the tradition and faith of people should not be hurt.” Ramdev said.
Sri Ram Sena also demanded that the movie be banned.
“The movie PK hurts the sentiments of Hindus and we protest it. Indian government should ban it,” Pramod Muthalik, the Sena leader said.