Bengaluru: While the frenzied fans of superstar Rajinikanth flocked to theatres as early as 4 am to catch the first show of his movie 'Kaala', which was released across the country today, fans in Karnataka were left disappointed as theatres did not screen the movie in view of the opposition from pro-Kannada activists. Many said they would travel to Tamil Nadu to watch the movie.
Pro-Kannada groups have been upset with actor-politician Rajinikanth's remarks on the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had said the film should not be released in his state "in the present situation".
Demonstrations were held in front of all the movie theatres across Karnataka where the film was to be screened.
According to reports, protesters were seen requesting Rajinikanth's fans not to watch the movie for the sake of their Kannada brethren fighting for Cauvery water. They also asked them to come together to show solidarity to the farmers who have been deprived of Cauvery river water.
Reports from Mysuru said the screening of 'Kaala' was delayed by movie theatres due to protests. However, two cinema theatres in Ballari and Raichur districts decided to screen the movie.
Despite Karnataka High Court clearance and order to the state government to ensure security to movie theatres that chose to screen the movie, the distributors played safe. Rajinikanth's fans congregated outside Bengaluru's Balaji theatre, demanding that the movie be released.
'Kaala' is facing the anger of pro-Kannada groups, who threatened to disrupt screenings if the movie was released despite a ban by a Karnataka film body. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy was seen as backing the groups, when he said it was his "individual opinion" that it was better to delay the release.
A day before the release, Rajinikanth had appealed to Kumaraswamy to facilitate the release of the movie by providing security at theatres. The actor, who is from Karnataka, said, "I understand H D Kumaraswamy's situation. This is not good for Karnataka. When the film is released around the world, the ban would highlight the issue (Cauvery water dispute)."
After the Congress government of Siddaramaiah was voted out of power last month, Rajinikanth had reportedly made the statement that no matter which government takes over, Karnataka should release Cauvery waters for Tamil Nadu....