- Congress workers mobbed Indu Sarkar film event in Pune yesterday
- Nagpur event also cancelled today, director blames Congress
- Congress widely slammed for opposing film based on Emergency
In his tweet, the director said, "Dear @OfficeOfRG after Pune I have 2 cancel today's PressCon at Nagpur. Do you approve this hooliganism? Can I have my Freedom of Expression?"
"Me and my actors are frightened, we are being threatened. You are scared of a film, what is this?" he later told reporters.
The movie is set in the backdrop of the Emergency and has characters inspired by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi. Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has demanded that the director hold a special screening so they can ensure that the "characters are not shown in a bad light".
Insisting that people were reacting on a "3-minute-long trailer", Mr Bhandarkar said the film is "70% fictional". "This was absolutely shocking... What is the problem if I make a film on Emergency?" Mr Bhandarkar told NDTV. "It was "baffling to see self-proclaimed custodians of freedom of expression creating huge ruckus," he had added.
The Congress has distanced itself from the protests, with senior leader Pawan Khera saying the party has "nothing to do" with them. He also questioned if the workers were even from the Congress. "The Congress party absolutely distances itself from these kinds of protests. We criticise it, we condemn it," he told NDTV.
But Umakant Agnihotri, a Congress strongman who led the protests in Nagpur, told NDTV: "Congress workers will not allow Mr Bhandarkar to promote his film anywhere across the country as it may assassinate the character of the party's icon Indira Gandhi."
The Central Board of Film Certification has suggested 12 cuts and two disclaimers in the film. Mr Bhandarkar had been asked to remove words like RSS and Akali from Indu Sarkar.