Despite Karan Johar’s film “My Name is Khan” shattering the record of largest opening for a Hindi film in North America, the film blazed controversy in its native India.
Grave political controversy surrounding the film did not stop eager audience from packing Mumbai theaters it’s opening weekend.
The Shiv Sena political party violently attempted to stop the screening of the film after the film’s star, Shah Rukh Khan expressed his displeasure when no Muslims were drafted into the Indian Premier League in January. Khah owns a team in the league.
Shiv Sena’s leader, Bal Thackery, has a history of organizing violent protests against Indian Muslims. He and his son, Uddhav, have been threatening Muslim superstar Khan for several years. In response to Khan’s comment, Thackeray demanded Khan apologize due to the fact that the perpetrators involved in the 2008 terrorist attacks were trained in Pakistan.
Ashok Chavan, chief minister of the state of Maharashtra (where Mumbai is located,) vowed Shiv Sena would not disrupt the film’s screening. Mumbai police made 2,000 precautionary arrests and 50 additional arrests the day of the opening film on charges of rioting and unlawful assembly. Some smaller theaters chose not to screen the controversial film in order to prevent potential violent outbreaks.