Mumbai: It was a shaky start, but by 2 pm, Mumbai was taking its revenge on the Sena with house full shows for Shah Rukh Khan's My Name is Khan.
Thirteen cinemas, including most of Mumbai's big multiplexes like Fun Cinemas and Inox, began screening the film by 12.30 pm. Two hours later, most of Mumbai's multiplexes began showing the film. Four single-screen cinemas were also on board. Mumbai generates the most money for Bollywood releases. And in Mumbai, multiplexes do the most business. (Read: All multiplex chains show My Name is Khan)
Seeing the overwhelming response to his film, Shah Rukh tweeted, "i am humbled by this show of love & kindness. so dont know wot else to say. overwhelmed & promise will make india proud with my hard work....my name is fan...& i am not a star..u r.." (Read: Grateful SRK tweets 'You're the star, I'm a fan')
From Berlin, a grateful Karan Johar, who has directed the film, tweeted "Am overwhelmed and moved to tears with all the support our labour of love is getting. Thank you. Thank you. Your hand on our head makes us." (Read: Berlin buys tickets @ 1000 euros each)
The Sena had threatened to attack cinemas showing the film unless Shah Rukh Khan apologises for saying Pakistani cricketers should have been included in the next season of the Indian Premier League. (Read: Bal Thackeray says Sena campaign successful)
The Shiv Sena did try to intimidate audiences by sporadic protests outside Fun Cinemas in Versova and Chembur. The protestors were arrested immediately and hundreds of Shah Rukh's fans waited patiently to enter the cinemas. Their loyalty had already been appreciated by Shah Rukh who had tweeted on Friday morning, before the film opened, "good m'ing mumbai. wotever the fate of the film, never wished this upon the city that made my dreams come true & gave me all. i belong to u".. (Read: SRK tweets "for last time" on Sena controversy).
As a show of support, Maharashtra's Home Minister, RR Patil, watched the film at Inox at Nariman Point. He echoed what the chief minister had said on Thursday night to cinema-owners: "be bold, we will protect you."
Some of Bollywood's biggest names promised to follow suit. Hrithik Roshan tweeted that he would watch the movie in a theatre on Friday. Abhishek Bachchan tweeted his support for SRK and Johar. (Read: Hrithik tweets go watch the movie!)
In Delhi, most afternoon screenings of the film were sold out. "We are booked till Sunday," Jayendra Banerjee, Vice President Satyam Cineplexes told PTI. On Thursday night, Shiv Sainiks attacked the Satyam cinema hall in Janakpuri. Some hoardings of Shah Rukh Khan were burnt at Nizamuddin also last night. (Read: Sena attacks Satyam cinema)
In Ahmedabad, there was a brief scare after the Vishwa Hindu Parishad threatened to attack cinemas showing the film. The first show at all theatres was cancelled, but after reassurances by the state government, the second show rolled out on schedule.
In cities like Kolkata and Bangalore, fans have ensured packed shows, stressing that they want to support Shah Rukh Khan for having the courage of his convictions, and for refusing to apologize to the Shiv Sena.
On Thursday evening, Khan tweeted that his comments had been "misconstrued" by the Sena's Uddhav and Bal Thackeray.