Mumbai: Theatres in the country's entertainment capital were well-guarded by the Mumbai Police for the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversial drama "Padmaavat" on Thursday.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had earlier said it would maintain a vigil outside cinemas where "Padmaavat" is screened.
Police vans were stationed outside several theatres, some of which did not flaunt the poster of "Padmaavat", which has courted protests in some parts of the country.
A staff member at one theatre told IANS on condition of anonymity: "We have been instructed by the management not to put out any posters. We did not put any posters not only outside the theatre, but also inside. Our intention is to conduct a peaceful screening of the film.
"We are told that putting out posters might make us an easy target for the protesters."
One staffer at a theatre of Miraj Cinemas said: "We put posters outside to make people aware of the films running. ‘Padmaavat' is a big film and people know about it not just because of Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, but also for the controversy. So, people are coming and asking for the tickets anyway."
Besides this, security checks are strict at the theatres.
"Padmaavat", starring Deepika, Ranveer and Shahid Kapoor, is based on 16th century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi's "Padmavat". Shri Rajput Karni Sena is at the forefront of the protests, impeding a nationwide release for the movie over alleged distortion of historical facts.
The film hasn't released in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Some theatres in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh too have refused to screen the film over fears of violence.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan said last minute decisions of theatres about not screening the film can affect the movie's collections.
"I think word of mouth will work in favour of the film. There is a mixed public review, but it is inclined towards positive. Until Wednesday morning, we thought that by Saturday the film will cross Rs 100 crore, but these last minute changes can make the film suffer."
He, however, said the Republic Day holiday could bring cheer.
"We are expecting a good number of around Rs 15 crore tomorrow. Hopefully, by Saturday it should recover around 80 crores," he conjectured on Thursday.