The LAB-1 cinema in Eindhoven has stopped selling tickets for a controversial Indian film after employees were harassed, a spokesperson reports to NOS.
The Indian movie The Kerala Story, which is about radicalized Muslim women, had been running in the cinema in Eindhoven for two weeks, but in recent days, according to the spokesperson, employees have been increasingly approached and harassed via social media and telephone calls to the cinema, among other things. “The character of the messages became increasingly intimidating and threatening in nature. When employees were also approached personally, a limit was reached for us.”
‘Just on the edge’
Until yesterday, visitors could buy tickets for Sunday’s performance via the website, but that sale has now stopped. All references to the film have also been removed from the website. The cinema has not reported a threat, but has reported it to the police.
According to the spokesperson, the apps that employees receive on their private numbers and messages via email and social media are “just on the edge”, but are experienced as intimidating. According to him, it was said, among other things, “we wouldn’t want any hassle or violence at your doorstep, would we?”
The municipality of Eindhoven states in a short statement that it is “aware of the film and the sensitivities it entails within the Muslim community. We are in good contact with both our network within the Muslim community and the police and LAB-1. “
According to opponents, the film gives an oversimplified and exaggerated picture of how the women in Kerala eventually joined IS. It is also said that the film is trying to drive a wedge between the Hindus and the Muslims in India.
Despite this, the film is a huge hit in India and has grossed almost 58 million euros till date. The ruling Hindu party Bharatiya Janata Party openly supported the film at election rallies, which is also likely to have increased attendance. The release of the film led to several protests in the country.
There was also opposition at some other screenings in Europe. For example, a group of Muslims entered a cinema in the English city of Birmingham to demand that the film be stopped. And after the film was shown in Utrecht, the Utrecht faction of the political party Denk aan asked the college to ensure that no more “hate-mongering and provocative films” are shown in Utrecht cinemas in the future.
PVV leader Wilders called on his followers via Twitter to visit the film. After Wilders tweeted about the film again, according to the LAB-1 spokesperson, the calls and emails have increased in frequency and intensity. According to him, they come “from people from the Muslim world who are opposed to this film”.
LAB-1 shows Indian films almost every week and wanted to show the film despite all the fuss. “We do this because of the international character of our audience.” The cinema says it will now remove the film from its programming for safety reasons. We stand for a cultural diversity in which we are guided by artistic and creative expression. “Art and culture sometimes lead to controversial dilemmas. That is also part of culture and should be a reason for dialogue and discussion. Not for threats and intimidation.”