Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Attacks on mainstream cinemas showing Indian language films not a mystery

There has been another spate of vandalism in Canada's biggest cinema chain, Cineplex. Luckily, I suppose, there does not seem to be any racist underpinning to the attacks. Rather, it seems to be more in the way of a local turf war.

Four screens in two cinemas in the Greater Toronto Area showing a film in the Malayalam language of South India were slashed. This follows at least seven other similar incidents since 2015 in which screens were slashed and pepper or bear spray were released into the audience, disrupting movies in languages like Tamil, Talugu and Malayalam.

It is thought that the attacks may be a response to mainstream chains like Cineplex and Landmark Cinemas getting into the screening of Indian language films that were previously the sole preserve of small independent cinemas like the Albion, Woodside and York theatres. However, it has been impossible to directly implicate the small cinemas in these attacks so far. Spokespeople for these independents categorically deny any involvement in the attacks (well, they would, wouldn't they?), and say that they too have been attacked over the years, including the vandalization of washrooms.

This kind of lawlessness might be not unexpected in the wilds of small-town Southern India, but it is shocking to encounter it in supposedly civilized Toronto.

No comments: