The screening of Sri Lankan film 'With You Without You' had to be cancelled in Chennai on Saturday after officials at PVR Cinemas, which released the film in India and was screening it in their halls, received threat calls from a Tamil group.
Threats started coming in prior to the film's release. According to Shiladitya Bora of PVR Cinemas, the have received calls urging them to not screen the film in Chennai. "We however took chance and played the film yesterday in Chennai. Since then we have been warned that if we play the film anymore they will storm the theatre and will kidnap our staff," said Bora.
Bora also added that the local police has also adviced them to cancel the screening of the film since the cinema hall is located in a sensitive area. On Saturday, the decision was taken to cancel the screening of the film in the city.
'With You, Without You' has been directed by noted Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage and was released in Sri Lanka in 2012 as 'Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka'. The film features Indian actress Amrita Patil and actor Shyam Fernando as a married couple in post civil war Sri Lanka. Amrita Patil plays a Tamil girl, who marries a much older ex Army man (Fernando) in a heist and a how their married life changes post the visit of an old friend.
Speaking to IBNLive.com, the award winning director said that he felt sad that the screening had to be cancelled. "The film has been getting good response on social media and the reviews have all been very encouraging. Someone told me that how they initially thought it was anti-Tamil but in reality there is nothing offensive at all. I owe a lot to Tamil cinema, have immense respect for the filmmakers here. In fact, we were planning to organize a special screening for the people of Tamil film industry. It is just sad," said Vithanage.
Shiladitya Bora pointed out that it is not the first time that such a threat has come. "Santosh Sivan's 'Ceylon' and Shoojit Sircar's 'Madras Café' had faced opposition from the certain Tamil groups in the state in the recent past."(IBNlive)