Ajay Devgn starrer Singham raked up controversy on the very day of its release in the state on Friday.
Several Kannada organisations staged protests in front of theatres in North Karnataka where the movie was being screened, protesting the manner in which Kannadigas were represented.
Protesters from Karnataka Rakshana Vedike tore movie posters and damaged facilities in theatres in Bidar, Hubli, Bagalkot, Raichur, and Bijapur, alleging that Kannadigas were portrayed in a disparaging manner in the movie.
Protesters were furious about a particular reference to Kannadigas as dogs in the movie, in a line of dialogue delivered by Devgn.
"Prakashraj, who plays the villain, has his origin in Karnataka. This is an insult to Kannadigas," said an angry Suresh Kumar, a protester in Bidar.
The controversial scene starts off with Prakashraj threatening Devgn that he would bring 1,000 people from Karnataka border to thrash him. Ajay (who plays Bhajirao Singham, a Maratha) retorts that one lion would suffice to shoo away a thousand dogs.
Many theatres stopped the shows. The protests too came down after the distributors announced that the controversial dialogue had been removed.
Actor Prakashraj said that the dialogue has been misunderstood and blown out of proportion.
"There is nothing controversial about it. I am a Kannadiga. How would I allow conversations that provide pain to people of Karnataka in any movie in which I am cast?" he asked.
He added that in view of the public interest, the scene has now been removed. Kajal Aggarwal and Ashok Saraf also play a role in the movie, directed by Rohit Shetty.