Fanaa fatal for Aamir? Gujarat politicians try to ban film because of actor's support for Narmada victims

JUMANA SHAH, WEDNESDAY MAY 24, 2006
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AHMEDABAD: It’s clear that Aamir Khan’s support to the Narmada Bachao Aandolan will not let Yash Raj’s big banner love story Fanaa see the light of the day in Gujarat theatres on Friday.
But notwithstanding the protests by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its youth wing, locals are keen to watch the movie, even if it means buying pirated DVDs and CDs.
The pirated CD-DVD market in Ahmedabad sprung into action on Wednesday morning, duplicating and selling Fanaa DVDs. “The publicity has worked wonders for us. Since people are curious to watch this movie they are paying Rs 160 for DVDs, which landed in Ahmedabad probably from across the border,” said an insider.
He added that “nearly half of the people who come to buy DVDs and VCDs end up buying them, even though they are expensive.”
The way protests are shaping it’s clear that Fanaa may be the beginning of the end of the superstar’s popularity in the state.
As if protests by political outfits were not enough, even trade associations like the Federation of Gujarat State Chemists and Druggists Associations have demanded a ban on all products and services endorsed by Aamir.
The tentative financial loss suffered by Yash Raj Films due to the film’s impending non-release in Gujarat is expected to be Rs 22.5 lakh. But the loss to be incurred by the cine exhibitors and ancillary businesses will be greater.
State Bharatiya Janata Party youth wing President Amit Thacker followed up his threat to ban all Khan’s movies in the state for his support to a cause that is “anti-Gujarat”.
“We have started an SMS campaign and are convincing theatre owners not to screen the film. The movie will not be released in Gujarat till Khan apologises to the people of Gujarat,” Thacker said.
Multiplex Association of Gujarat President Manubhai Patel confirmed that multiplexes in Gujarat have decided not to release the movie. “It is a huge opportunity lost since it is a big banner and quite likely to do business for at least two weeks.
There are no other big banner movies releasing soon either But the opportunity lost may not be much compared to the infrastructure loss if it evokes violence,” Patel said, regretting the loss of a good business proposition. He hoped that if a solution is reached soon, the movie can be salvaged in Gujarat, especially since the issue is ‘minor’.
Fearing a repeat of violence generated during the screening of Rang De Basanti, standalone theatres have reportedly decided to hold the film’s release. “Some theaters have been damaged in the past. If the public protest, we will definitely not release the film. We cannot risk violence again,” Gujarat Theatre Owners’ Associations member Mukund Shah said.

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