Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on Thursday expressed angst after three scenes — two involving Sikhs smoking — were deleted from his latest movie “Manmarziyaan”, apparently without his knowledge.
“Hereby all problems of Punjab are solved and Sikh youth have been saved. Happy to be back in La la land again. Next time you are threatened by a film please call Kishore Lulla directly… Eros knows how to solve matters in minutes,” Kashyap tweeted in response to a post featuring a censor copy mentioning the deleted scenes.
Dated September 18, the censor copy mentioned the three scenes that were “voluntary deletions made by the applicant after the certification”. The scenes include one featuring Abhishek Bachchan’s Robbie smoking and one with Taapsee Pannu’s Rumi smoking. The third scene had the two of them enter a Gurudwara as bride and groom while Rumi thought about her past with Vicky Kaushal’s character.
Members of the Sikh community in Ambala had reportedly expressed displeasure over the smoking scene. According to media reports, a petition was also filed in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday by a Sikh organisation objecting to a scene in which Abhishek’s character smokes a cigarette after taking off his turban.
Kashyap’s angry reaction also mentioned the contact number of Kishore Lulla, Chairman, Eros International, the presenter of “Manmarziyaan”, but Twitter took down the tweet later.
Filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane, the movie’s co-producer, tweeted: “The one time the censor board showed maturity and our spineless studios shat and ran. What a terrible precedent to set.”
“Manmarziyaan”, an Amritsar-set drama, is produced by Phantom Films and Aanand L. Rai’s Colour Yellow Productions.
An official statement from Eros International said: “Colour Yellow is the creative producer on ‘Manmarziyaan’. We have the deepest respect for all communities and it is our intention to maintain neutrality and never intentionally hurt or disrespect any religion or community.
“We have the greatest respect for the law of the land and follow and implement all guidance of the censor board which is the supreme authority for film content in the country.”
The controversy has made Taapsee question the logic behind the objections to the smoking scenes, as well as a scene in which her character — a bride — thinks about her past as she enters a Gurudwara for her wedding.
“I am sure this edit will assure that no Sikh will ever smoke and no woman will ever think about anyone else while getting married in a Gurudwara. This surely will make Waheguru proud and assures that my religion is the purest, most righteous and peaceful! Proud,” tweeted Taapsee.
On Wednesday, Kashyap had addressed the issue raised by some Sikhs.
“‘Manmarziyaan’ is a story of three individuals and not their religion. I am sorry if anyone feels genuinely hurt, but I would also request that please don’t make this unnecessary political because it’s not.
“I have always put out things the way they are without an agenda. Technology does not allow us to cut a scene and it affects the storytelling. So, I definitely cannot do that now. To those whose hurt is genuine, I offer a genuine apology, that wasn’t my intention.
“And for those who are doing it for attention, I am glad you have got the attention,” he had tweeted.