On Wednesday (March 16), the screening of the movie ‘The Kashmir Files’ was stopped midway after a brawl broke out at the iconic Navina Cinema Hall in Tollygunge in Kolkata. However, there are several different versions of the story on the reasons for the same. While some reports say some Muslims protested against the movie, the theatre owners deny that and claim the incident was over two men talking loudly on the phone.
In a tweet, India TV journalist Manish Bhattacharya informed that several people held demonstrations inside the cinema hall while watching the movie. He stated, “The movie was interrupted for 15 minutes and then resumed. Protestors were taken out of the theatre.”
Some people protested inside movie hall while watching #kashmirifiles at navina theatre kolkata— Manish Bhattacharya (INDIA TV)﮷ (@Manish_IndiaTV) March 16, 2022
The movie was interrupted for 15 minutes and then resumed. Protestors were taken out of the theatre. pic.twitter.com/qW7w5QAEMz
Contradictory versions of the Navina cinema hall brawl surface
After the news came to the fore, different versions of the incident began transpiring on social media. A Twitter user (@HindutvaTeam) alleged that a Muslim mob stormed into the Navina cinema hall and forcibly stopped the screening of ‘The Kashmir Files’.
The tweet claimed that the audience members resisted the diktat and the screening of the movie was resumed after 30 mins.
A group of Muslims stormed a cinema hall to forcibly stop the screening of ‘The Kashmir Files’ in Kolkata.#Kolkata #KolkataNews #WestBerngalNews #TheKashmirFiles #KashmirFiles #TheKashmiriFiles #VivekAgnihotri pic.twitter.com/SPrFgy7z7P— जय हिंदुत्व शौर्य (@HindutvaTeam) March 17, 2022
Sirf News reported, “The staff of the Navina theatre said some Muslims protested inside the hall during the screening of The Kashmir Files. Police said they raised slogans saying the plot of the film was based on falsehood. This led to quarrel and fisticuffs between the members of the two communities. The staff of the theatre stopped the film for 15 min.”
Citing police sources, AajTak had reported that 3 men sitting on the front row of the cinema hall began protesting in between the screening of the movie on Wednesday. The trio also raised slogans, demanding a ban on the movie. This led to a scuffle between them and audience members sitting on the back rows of the Navina cinema hall.
The news report also added that the three men came to watch the movie in an inebriated state and were removed from the cinema hall by the authorities. The screening of the movie reportedly resumed within 15 minutes of the incident.
In a report published by Anandabazar Patrika, the news organisation claimed to have contacted cinema hall owner, Naveen Chokhani to learn more about the matter. Chokhani, reportedly, dismissed reports of any protest/ demonstration having taken place within the premises of the Navina cinema hall. Citing the owner, Anandabazar Patrika reported that the movie screening was temporarily stopped after the audience members were annoyed with 2 men, who constantly talked on the phone.
He said that despite repeated requests, the men continued to talk on the phone. Forced by circumstances, Naveen Chokhani had to escort the two men out of the cinema hall.
Meanwhile, Opindia reached out to Navina Cinema Hall over the telephone to learn more about the incident. A man (who refused to be identified) said that he was not present at the cinema hall during the incident. He also claimed that none have any idea about the said incident before disconnecting the call abruptly.
‘The Kashmir Files’ is inspired by the true stories of Kashmiri Pandits. It takes viewers back to 1989, when conflict erupted in Kashmir due to rising Islamic Jihad, forcing the great majority of Hindus to flee the valley.
According to estimates, roughly 100,000 of the valley’s total 140,000 Kashmiri Pandit inhabitants migrated between February and March 1990. More of them fled in the years that followed until just about 3,000 families remained in the valley by 2011.
The movie based on video interviews with first-generation Kashmiri Pandit victims of the Kashmir Genocide was released in India on March 11 and is open to watch in theatres.