Sena threat looms over 'Khan'

Political party seeks to disrupt film premiere

MUMBAI -- More than 1000 Shiv Sena workers have been arrested and security beefed up at many of Mumbai's movie theaters after the Hindu hardline group warned against the Feb. 12 release of "My Name Is Khan."

Shiv Sena workers tore up the film's posters on Wednesday, continuing their protest against lead actor Shah Rukh Khan for backing the participation of Pakistani cricketers in the Indian Premier League.

More than a thousand workers were taken into preventive custody, joint commissioner of police Himanshu Roy told reporters.

"We have also asked theatre owners not to allow people in the first three rows of a theatre, so that there is no access to the screen," Roy said.

Other measures include not allowing bags inside halls, plain-clothes policemen guarding theaters from outside and verifying the identity of audience members.

More than 60 Mumbai theaters are now under police protection, but most of them are not taking any chances.

Web sites of major cinema chains like PVR and Cinemax have stopped online booking for "My Name Is Khan." Representatives of most cinema chains did not return calls.

The cast and crew of "My Name Is Khan" is attending its premiere in Abu Dhabi and later head to Europe for a screening at the Berlin film festival.

"Mumbai is the city that brought me up ... the city that gave me my vision...and I know my city will be my strength..." director Karan Johar wrote on his Twitter account before leaving India.

In the film, Shah Rukh Khan plays a man with Asperger's Syndrome who is a victim of racial bias in the U.S. in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.