Controversy
Vatal Nagaraj has alleged that screening of regional language films in Karnataka has hampered the growth of Sandalwood films.

Its protest season again in Bengaluru, especially since Superstar Rajinikanth's much awaited film 2.0 is all set to hit the screens on Thursday. President of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha - Vatal Nagaraj has stated that he opposed the release of the film in Karnataka. 

Speaking to TNM, Vatal Nagaraj said that he would hold protests outside Urvashi theatre in Bengaluru's Lalbagh area at 10 am on Thursday opposing the release of 2.0. "Do the theatre owners and distributors in Tamil Nadu screen Kannada film? There are barely a handful of theatres in other states which run Kannada films. When that is the situation, why should movie theatres in Karnataka screen mother regional language films?" Vatal Nagaraj said. 

Nagaraj, who is infamous for his protests, has stated that the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce is hand in glove with regional language movie producers, which "is hampering the growth of Sandalwood films". "Many members of the film chamber are distributors of Tamil and Telugu films. When the problem is with the film chamber, then that must be rooted out first in order to change the situation," Vatal Nagarj said. 

Nagarj claimed that several single-screen theatres, which dedicatedly screened Sandalwood films are now being replaced by malls and multiplexes, leading to a fall in the number of theatres screening Kannada films. 

"There were theatres like Bharat Talkies and State Talkies which screened Kannada films. Now they are being turned into shopping malls with multiplexes in them. They are screenings Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films but not Kannada ones. There are very few theatres in Bengaluru which dedicatedly screen Kannada films and this has a huge impact on the industry. We should support local talent and local industries before promoting those from other states," Vatal nagaraj said. 

Vatal Nagaraj also put forth another demand that regional language films except for Kannada ones must be screened in Karnataka a month after it has been released in theatres elsewhere. "We must give more space to Kannada cinema. When we are strict about not screening Tamil or other language films, then they will too realise that if they do not screen Kannada films in their theatres, then distributors and theatre owners in our state too would not tolerate such behaviour. I have been fighting for the upliftment of Kannada films for over 20 decades now and I will not stop fighting," Vatal Nagaraj said. 

Sources in the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce said that the theatres in Bengaluru would continue to screen 2.0 despite the call for a protest. "We are not supporting the protest," the source said. 

This is not the first time Vatal Nagaraj has created a controversy ahead of the release of a much awaited blockbuster. In June this year, Vatal Nagaraj and members of Praveen Shetty's Karnataka Rakshana Vedike had called for a ban on Superstar Rajinikanth's Kaala. The members of these pro-Kannada outfits had held protests at various theatres in the city and had stopped the movie theatre owners from screening the film. 

In April 2017, Vatal Nagaraj, along with the backing of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and various pro-Kannada outfits had refused to allow the release of Baahubali 2. Vatal Nagaraj had alleged that one of the actors in the film, Sathyaraj has made statements against Karnataka in relation with the Cauvery water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Vatal Nagaraj had demanded an apology from Sathyaraj.