Fans lathi-charged at Chennai movie function

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 26, 2008 03:22 hrs

Chennai: Dozens of people, including journalists, were injured when police cane-charged frenzied crowds at the star-studded audio launch function here Friday of the Kamal Haasan-starrer Dasavatharam that was attended by Hollywood star Jackie Chan and Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Kamal Haasan were also present during the launch.

There was confusion at the Nehru Stadium, as thousands of passes had been distributed among the members of the Tamil cinema industry, fans of Kamal Haasan, the top brass of music company Sony BMG and leading lights of the ruling DMK regime, said a witness.

"Tempers ran high - on the side of the police as well as the fans. While the fans thought they had been cheated of a peek at the stars, the policemen felt they were doing a thankless job confounded by poor organisation," A.R. Laxman, a music company executive attending the function, told IANS.

Media persons who had flown in from Mumbai and Delhi were not only kept out of the stadium because it was already packed, quite a few had to bear the brunt of police canes, a woman journalist, told IANS.

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Police officials, however, expressed helplessness.

"Our job was to prevent any untoward incident to the VIPs. Would journalists have forgiven us if something bad had happened?" asked a flustered police official.

Matters were made worse by the presence of a large number of ruling DMK workers.

A spokesperson of Sony BMG, which has produced the film's music, said they were unaware of the mayhem outside as they were present backstage.

Earlier, Jackie Chan and Bachchan where whisked from the Anna International Air Terminal in bullet-proof limousines to the Taj Coromandel Hotel by producer Oscar Ravichandran.

Dasavatharam has Kamal Haasan in 10 roles and the music for the much-awaited film has been composed by Bollywood's Himesh Reshammiya, know best for his nasal crooning.

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