Hyderabad: With Boya Valmiki community threatening to disrupt the screening of Telugu film ‘Valmiki’, the makers changed the title ‘Gaddhalakonda Ganesh’ hours before the movie’s release on Friday.
Authorities in Kurnool and Anantapur districts of Andhra Pradesh had stopped the release of the movie after Boya community members threatened to disrupt its screening in theatres. The district collectors had asked the filmmakers to resolve the issue.
In a decision taken late Thursday, the producers changed the title to ‘Gaddhalakonda Ganesh.’
The Boya community has long been protesting over the film’s title. Claiming to be the descendants of the sage Valmiki, who wrote the Ramayana, they said the title ‘Valmiki’ would hurt their sentiments.
A few groups had petitioned the Censor Board. Some had even approached the Telangana High Court, which declined to stay the film’s release.
Director Harish Shankar said the decision to change the title was painful as the groups were adamant without watching the movie, though they were willing to arrange special screening for them.
The filmmaker said he felt hurt over the issue due to the stand taken by some people.
A gangster comedy entertainer ‘Gaddhakakonda Ganesh’ is the remake of the Tamil film ‘Jigarthanda’. The film stars Varun Tej, Pooja Hegde and Atharvaa Murali.
Anticipating law and order problems, the collectors in Anantapur and Kurnool districts had issued orders stopping screening of the movie.
Members of Boya community had tried to disrupt the shooting of the movie at Mundabandapalli village in Anantapur district three months ago.
The main objection of the community was that the hero in the film played a gangster and he is named as Valmiki. They said since they worship Valmiki as the god, the movie has hurt their sentiments.
In Adoni town of Kurnool, some members of Boya community along with the activists of Bajrang Dal were on hunger strike since Wednesday demanding that the screening of the film be stopped and the title be changed.
With the filmmaker now changing the title, the film is likely to be screened in the two districts from Saturday.