Mumbai, Sep 10(IANS) Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists here Wednesday attacked a cinema hall where Amitabh Bachchan-starrer 'The Last Lear' was set to premiere, forcing authorities to call off the evening function.
'Yes, the Mumbai premiere has been cancelled but now we plan to have a grand affair in Delhi,' a well-placed source in Planman Motion Pictures, the production house of the film, told IANS.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray had called for a ban on the screening of films starring any of the Bachchan family as a protest against actress and MP Jaya Bachchan's alleged 'anti-Marathi' remarks.
The premiere of the film, to be released Friday, was to be a glittering affair at the PVR Multiplex in Juhu and it was to be attended by producer Arindam Chaudhuri, director Rituparno Ghosh and Amitabh apart from other Bollywood actors.
However, MNS activists attacked the PVR property in Juhu in the afternoon and tore off posters of 'The Last Lear', demanding that the film be banned.
Jaya's desire to speak in Hindi at a film function Saturday resulted in a controversy and the MNS threatened to ban the release of all films starring the members of the Bachchan family.
Jaya apologised for her remark after MNS workers started defacing Bachchan film posters. But the MNS has refused to accept her apology.
The fate of the Mumbai release of 'The Last Lear' Friday is still unclear, but the film would be premiered in New Delhi Thursday. Producer Chaudhuri and Amitabh are also set to hold a press conference in the capital.
Chaudhuri earlier said that he may suffer losses of about most Rs.70 million if the MNS carried out its threat to prevent the screening of films starring the superstar or his family members.
'Film producers invest millions in making a film and spend volumes of money on publicity. Due to some unfortunate incident, a film shouldn't be dragged into any controversy,' Chaudhuri was quoted as saying.
Chaudhuri said that even a slight delay in the film's release would disturb his investment plans.
'The release can't be delayed! My Mumbai collections will suffer greatly. Since it is a multiplex release, Mumbai and Delhi are my main markets. In fact, my profits will be affected as 40 percent of the collections come from Mumbai alone,' he had said.
'The Last Lear', directed by award-winning filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, highlights the different acting skills necessary for theatre and cinema. It is based on Utpal Dutt's play 'Aajker Shahjahan'. It also stars Arjun Rampal and Preity Zinta in pivotal roles.