Movie fans turned violent causing thousands of dollars worth of damage in Malaysia when the screening of a new South Indian flick was delayed or cancelled, an official said Saturday.
Technical hitches angered fans of the movie — “Sivaji: The Boss,” starring South Indian superstar Rajinikanth — who then smashed glass displays and set fire to a cinema Friday. Such violence is rare in Malaysia.
About 10 percent of Malaysia’s 26 million population are ethnic Indians, mainly Tamils, and South Indian movies are a major source of entertainment.
“Honestly, I am sorry for the violent reaction of the fans. The delay and cancellation of the long-awaited movie were due to technical glitches,” S. Vel Paari, chief executive of the the movie’s Malaysian distributor, Pyramid Saimira Theatre Chain told AFP.
“I will compensate all the damages,” he added. The movie was initially supposed to be released in April.
Vel Paari said the movie has generated a lot of excitement in Malaysia because it stars popular southern Indian actor Ranjinikanth.
In the central Selangor state, northern Perak and Penang states, police were needed to stop Friday’s violence, the New Straits Times newspaper said Saturday.
At the Sri Intan theatre in Klang, west of the capital Kuala Lumpur, fans destroyed speakers, tore the screen and curtains and broke chairs after the movie came to an abrupt stop midway due to a technical problem.
The theatre manager estimated damages at 70,000 ringgit (21,000 dollars). Rioters also set fire to part of the theatre but is was quickly put out.
Many of the patrons then gathered outside and demanded the cinema owner pays for the fuel and toll costs besides a refund, the report said.
In Rawang, north of here, fistfights broke out while some threw bottles, breaking glass showcases while in Ipoh, Perak, a cinema manager suffered head injuries and needed stitches.