Hundreds of people had to be evacuated from Cineworld Wolverhampton after 50 protestors turned up and staged a sit-in over the screening of a controversial film.
Police had to be called and the cinema cleared and closed after the protestors surged through the main entrance and headed for the screen showing Bollywood blockbuster, Nanak Shah Fakir.
Once inside, the Sikh campaigners sat down on the floor and began to shout, refusing to move until cinema bosses met their demands and stopped the screening.
Well that’s that then. We can’t have anything if religious protesters decide they don’t want us to have it. All they have to go is sit down and shout, and that will be the end of whatever it was we were having.
Why the hell didn’t the “cinema bosses” call the police instead of doing what the lawbreaking trespassing extortionists demanded?
Nanak Shah Fakir, which is directed by Sartaj Singh Pannu and narrated by Arif Zakaria, has been mired in controversy since its release last week.
It stems from a depiction of the Guru and other religious figures in human form, which is considered to be a blasphemous violation of religious doctrine by many Sikhs.
Fine; they don’t have to look at it; they don’t get to shut it down for everyone.
It has been banned in many parts of India and attracted mass protests, while some UK cinemas have refused to show it through fear of offending religious sentiments.
Ban all the things. Ban Behzti, ban Wendy Doniger’s books, ban Taslima Nasreen’s books, ban Nanak Shah Fakir. Ban ban Caliban.
Cineworld said it has no plans to show the film in future following the incident. Posters advertising the film have since been removed from the cinema’s walls.
How absolutely cowardly and abject.
One man, who asked not to be named, said he was among dozens of customers asked to leave the multiplex when the commotion ensued.
He said: “It was extremely intimidating. For a group of people to be able to get a film stopped and then banned is just ridiculous.
“It’s an attack on freedom of speech. The atmosphere was quite aggressive in there and it’s not what you expect to face when you go and watch a film.”
Well quite! And it’s pretty damn mind-boggling that the cinema is giving in to the extortionists instead of pressing criminal charges against them.
A theater employee said:
“We apologised and offered those customers affected a full refund. The police were called to the cinema and we are currently working closely with them to investigate.
“We have taken the decision to cancel screenings of Nanak Shah Fakir because we want our customers to enjoy visiting our cinemas and experience a wide range of films without disruption from others.”
The way to do that is to refuse to let the extortionists have their way. It’s absolutely not to do what they demand.