While Tiger Zinda Hai is roaring at the box office, there have been protests in various parts of the country claiming for the ban against the film. Salman while promoting his film, Tiger Zinda Hai, on a dance show, had allegedly made a casteist slur, where he had compared his dancing skills to a sanitation worker or a bhangi. Actress Shilpa Shetty who was also present there had laughed along with him and said that she also looked like one.
This statements and comparison did not go down well with several groups who felt that it was a derogatory insult to scheduled castes and sanitation workers. The protests started in Rajasthan where posters were torn down, slogans were raised as protesters vandalised theatres demanding that Tiger Zinda Hai not be screened.
The protests have spread to Agra where a large crowd of members of the Valmiki community, including Agra municipal corporation’s sanitation workers, hijacked a Municipal truck and attacked a film theatre in the city, where the movie Tiger Zinda Hai was running.
Talking to India Today, the theatre manager Mohd. Imtiyaz Chand spoke about the incident, “a huge mob of Valmiki community members tried to enter the gates of the theatre today, demanding that the film be pulled down immediately. The demonstrators claimed that Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty have humiliated the Valmiki community by making some comments on the community. When the film wasn’t stopped, the mob attacked the theatre with rocks and tore down the film posters from the walls.”
Chand said,” The mob had also brought a municipal corporation truck filled with debris with them and this debris was dumped in a pile outside the theatre gate, blocking the entrance. He said that the mob was joined by members of a right-wing Hindu organization Rashtriya Hindu Sena later, and had the police not reached the spot in time, the theatre would have been set afire.”
Some members of the Valmiki community cleared their stance saying that Salman Khan had made some derogatory comments against their community in a TV channel interview and both Salman and his co-star Shilpa Shetty should be charged under the SC/ST Act. They claimed that the Agra District Magistrate Gaurav Dayal has also been served a memorandum of these demands.
Valmiki Samaj Kalyan Sangh President Dilip Utsahi said that they have warned the district administration in advance that if a case under SC/ST Act is not registered against the two actors, the Valmiki community will be forced to take this matter down into the streets. He also warned the theatres in Agra saying that if any theatre tries to display Tiger Zinda Hai, the Valmiki community will force it to stop the display.
We have to wait to see where this rage ends and what repercussions this protest brings for the makers of Tiger Zinda Hai.