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Films, fans & crowd control

There have been few complaints, except for blackmarketing of tickets. But traffic near the cinemas is a hassle for fans, saysP. Oppili

While fans were having a whale of a time as the films of big-time stars of the Tamil screen were released, the law enforcers had a busy time controlling the zealous crowds. This type of crowd needs a completely different management strategy, say police officials.

Especially when films of Rajnikant, Kamal Hassan and Vijay hit the screen on the Tamil New Year's Day. Chandramukhi and Mumbai Xpress were released in 18 cinema halls in the city limits, and 15 in the suburbs.

With threats from `Tamil protection groups' looming large over the Kamal-starrer, the city police are concentrating on providing general protection to the theatres showing this film. For Rajnikanth's film, the stress is more on crowd control and curbing sale of tickets in black market, the police say.

Though there has been no complaint of attack on cinema halls in the city, the screen of a theatre at Red Hills was damaged by miscreants on Thursday, ostensibly opposed to the English title of the Kamal film. Following the incident, adequate police protection has been provided to the theatre, says C. Sylendra Babu, Joint Commissioner of Police, North Zone.

In each theatre at least 10 police personnel, including women constables control crowds, curb sale of tickets in black market as also harassment of women, notes Sunil Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Central Zone.

As of now they have booked cases against selling tickets in black market though very few complaints of harassment of women have been reported in the cinema halls, say the officers. The touts were arrested, their tickets seized and fined by magistrates. In each zone the police rounded up at least 10 touts in the last two days, says an officer.

A visit to Shanthi cinema on Anna Salai on Friday showed there were more policemen than fans. However, an officer around says, the crowds will mob the halls only for about a week.

But traffic jams outside the cinema halls before and after the shows are a big hassle for fans as also other road users. Policing the traffic and crowds are poor, say many fans at Sathyam. Also, the authorities are extremely mild in enforcing parking rules in cinema halls, which flout development control rules and leave very little open space for parking.

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