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New Delhi Correspondent
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has joined the chorus of criticism of a Bollywood feature film on former Indian Prime Minister and senior opposition Congress leader Manmohan Singh questioning its timing and motive even Congress activists disrupted its screening in Kolkata and two other Indian cities.
As the film “The Accidental Prime Minister”, starring veteran actor Anupam Kher in the role of Singh, hit the screens on Friday, its show was interrupted at a multiplex in a posh Kolkata mall by a group of West Bengal Congress workers who forced their way in and vandalized the theatre.
The protesters carrying Youth Congress flags entered an Inox multiplex in a mall on Friday night when the screening of the movie was about to start and damaged the screen. The activists also allegedly threatened the viewers to leave the auditorium and claimed they would not allow the film to be screened anywhere as its content is “disrespectful” towards the Congress party leaders. However, the screening began after the fracas after the police intervened. The theatre said it will not cancel screenings of the movie.
The party workers also staged a protest outside another cinema hall in Kolkata as also in Siliguri town in North Bengal. Senior state Congress leaders, however, distanced themselves from the protests and said they do not support such protests.
Chief of West Bengal unit of Congress Somen Mitra said his party was for freedom of expression and did not support any act of vandalism. He was, however, critical of the film’s content.
Reports of protests against the move also came in from central Indian cities of Raipur and Indore.
Addressing a rally near Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee said ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ was a “distortion aimed at misleading the people and made keeping in mind the coming parliamentary elections.”
In what appeared to be a veiled reference to her arch political rival Narendra Modi, Mamata said “soon someone will make a film called ‘The Disastrous Prime Minister’. “Everyone is an accidental Prime Minister,” she added.
“The Accidental Prime Minister” is based on a book by former journalist Sanjaya Baru who was Media Adviser to Manmohan Singh during the latter’s first five-year tenure from 2004 to 2009.