Protestors belonging to Christian organisations staged a noisy demonstration in front of Prasad's IMAX theatre in Hyderabad and broke the booking counter's glass panes, forcing the management to stop screening the controversial film The Da Vinci Code on Friday afternoon.
A group of 50 volunteers of All India Christian United Front gathered in front of the theatre, holding placards and raising slogans. Theatre management cancelled the show that was to begin at 3.15 pm. Incidentally, Prasad's IMAX was the only theatre to start showing the film today, as other theatres in the city and elsewhere in the state could not take up screening at short notice. The theatre had planned a single show until Sunday and three shows a day from Monday. The theatre management said they had full bookings for today's matinee show.
Although the protestors had made it known that they would not allow the screening and had even alerted the media before gathering at 3 pm, the police was blissfully unaware of the threat. Police arrived only after the protestors staged a demonstration and dispersed.
Meanwhile, the state government has decided to file an appeal before a division bench of the State High Court against a single judge's orders quashing its order banning the exhibition of the film in English, Telugu or any other language in the state. Justice G Raghuram declared the government's action in imposing a ban on June 1 on the screening of the film "as extravagant, arbitrary and wholly irrational."
Sony Entertainment, Lakshmi Ganapathi Films and Muni Krishna Reddy challenged the ban. The judge held that there was no breach of peace as required under section 8 of the AP Cinema Regulation Act. The judge had also directed the government to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 each to the film's producer and distributor.
State Chief Secretary T K Dewan held a meeting with Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Paul Bhuyan and Law Department officials on Friday to discuss the modalities for filing an appeal in the High Court to enforce a permanent ban on the screening of the film.