False: The image shows security personnel guarding a movie theater ahead of Pathaan's release.

By: Rahul Adhikari
January 27 2023

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False: The image shows security personnel guarding a movie theater ahead of Pathaan's release.


The Verdict False

An edited image from 2018 is being shared with the claim that security personnel are guarding the front of a theater ahead of Pathaan's release.

Claim ID 0fb8dc67


Ahead of the January 25 release of the Bollywood film Pathaan, calls for a boycott trended on Twitter over the film's title song, "Besharam Rang." Grievances against the film incorporate communal tensions, criticisms of Bollywood, and complaints of immodesty. 

According to The Indian Express, several theater owners in Gujarat received threats from groups such as the Bajrang Dal, who have been protesting against the release of the film. An instance of vandalism was also reported in Ahmedabad in January, with members of the group targeting posters of the film. 

News18 stated that Bajrang Dal has also been staging violent protests against the film in Assam; a recent protest at a theater in the city of Narengi saw vandalism and the burning of movie posters. The Gujarat Multiplex Association demanded security for theaters days before the movie hit the screens. 

Amid this row, multiple social media users have shared an image claiming to show security personnel guarding a movie theater ahead of its release. A poster of the Pathaan movies can be seen in the viral photo. However, this image has been altered.

In Fact

A reverse image search shows that the viral image has been edited. The original photo was taken in 2018 after the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat, which sparked controversy over the portrayal of Padmaavati in the film. Theater owners and audience members requested increased security for the film's release. 

We found a similar photo, taken from a different angle, published in The Indian Express on January 26, 2018. The report stated that more than 20 paramilitary personnel and police officers were guarding the Delite Cinema in New Delhi ahead of Padmavaat's release. In both the viral image and the photo printed in the Express, the same 10 security personnel are standing outside the movie theater in the same order. The theater has the same rounded front exterior, the same entrance, and scaffolding can be seen on both sides of the building. A Padmavaat poster can be seen on the theater building in the original image, whereas the viral image carries a poster of Pathaan. A comparison between the photos shows that in the viral image, the Padmaavat poster was digitally replaced with a Pathaan poster.

A photo of the same scene, captured from a different angle, was also found in a Hindustan Times article dated January 25, 2018. According to the news report, the photo was taken outside a cinema in Delhi after the release of Padmaavat. Here too, the similarities between the structure of the theater and the security personnel clearly indicate that the image in the viral post has been altered. Although theaters have requested increased security in light of threats, this photo does not show one particular theater being patrolled by security personnel.

The Verdict

An altered image of a theater screening the film Padmaavat in January 2018 is being shared to falsely claim that it shows security personnel guarding a film theater ahead of the release of Pathaan. The poster, originally that of Padmaavat, has been digitally edited. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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