COLOMBO: A cinema hall planning to screen ‘Raavanan’ was torched here amidst protests against the film owing to its star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and director Mani Ratnam’s decision to stay away from the IIFA awards held in Sri Lanka.
An unidentified group in Eastern Sri Lanka has called on theatre owners in the country to boycott Tamil movies and the bi-lingual film, starring Abhishek Bachchan in the Hindi version and Vikran in Tamil, is the first victim.
The group had sent handbills to cinema owners, saying that the boycott of the IIFA event by Indian artistes had brought disrepute to Sri Lanka and therefore retaliation was just and appropriate.
On Thursday, a day before the release of ‘Raavanan’, Shanthi cinema in eastern Batticaloa, which was planning to screen the much hyped film was torched.
The hall’s manager, Mr Kandasamy Murugesu said that three people came to his theatre on Monday and told him he should not screen films from Tamil Nadu.
“I informed the Kattankudi police and three days later there was an arson attack,” ‘The Sunday Times’ quoted him as saying.
The manager said he would not bow to this threat and would screen films produced in Tamil Nadu and asked for police protection.
Amitabh Bachchan, son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya, had given the glitzy event a miss, citing work commitments.
The Bachchan family’s decision to skip the event raised many eyebrows as megastar Amitabh Bachchan is the ambassador for IIFA.
The celebration was boycotted by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce as a mark of protest against the alleged mistreatment of Tamils in the country.
The film industry in the state of Tamil Nadu, which shares close cultural and religious links with the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, stayed away from the event with superstars Kamal Haasan, Rajnikanth also giving it a miss.