Anurag Kashyap directorial Manmarziyaan might be enjoying its share of praise, but the film seems to also have left a Sikh group upset over certain smoking sequences. As a result, its producers have deleted three scenes from the film after members of the Sikh community objected to a one where Abhishek Bachchan’s character of Robbie is shown smoking.
The producers approached the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) regarding the deletion of the scenes. According to a censor copy, the three deleted scenes include a 29-second smoking sequence of Abhishek, a minute long scene featuring Taapsee Pannu and Abhishek entering a gurudwara and an 11-second scene where Taapsee is shown smoking.
“We have removed the three scenes from the film as people’s sentiments were getting hurt. The said changes have come into effect in metros from today and will reflect across India from the coming Thursday-Friday,” a source from the production side told PTI.
A petition was filed in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday by the Supreme Sikh Organisation objecting to a scene in Manmarziyaan where Abhishek Bachchan’s Robbie is smoking a cigarette after taking off his turban.
The complaint was filed in the court against the screening of the film. It raised an objection stating that Robbie, who plays a Sardar character, “solemnises his marriage rituals in a gurudwara and then goes out. He removes his turban and smokes a cigarette.”
As per the petitioner, it hurts the sentiments of the Sikh religion. The complaint further stated that since the actors are role models for the young generation, such scenes give a wrong message to the society.
Amid the controversy, Manmarziyaan director Anurag Kashyap took to Twitter and issued a long statement, defending his film while putting across his stance.
My statement on the brewing controversy.
— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) September 19, 2018
Here’s what Anurag Kashyap wrote in the statement:
“I am not in India and I have been reading about the Sikh community feeling offended by the smoking scene. This film is not commenting on a community, it talks about individuals and their choices. Every step of the way, we asked for guidance from Sikh people for the film. When we shot the sequence in Gurudwara, we were told we can’t shoot them getting married as it can’t be faked so me made the actors do only “Mattha tekna “. When we were shooting scenes , no member of crew was allowed to smoke inside the houses. When we shot the smoking scene , it was shot on the street and there were close to 150 people watching the shoot. We asked before doing the scene and were told that he has to take the Turban off before he smokes away from his house. We were also shown how Robbie should take the turban off with both hands and how he should hand it over and how the cousin should take it . Most of the 150 people in the crowd were sikhs and we were told that’s how it is. We created what we saw with our own eyes and after discussion. It was never the intention to hurt the community and why would we do that when we got so much love from them. The city of Amritsar opened their hearts and doors to us and everything was done with utmost care. Not a single thing was shot without guidance. We wanted to show things the way they are. No religion teaches crime or anything anti-humanity, yet those things happen. It doesn’t mean they are offending the religion. 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 story telling . So I definitely can not 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.”
In the film sequence, Abhishek Bachchan’s Robbie is left shocked when Taapsee Pannu’s Rumi comes to him to announce that she cannot get married to him. That’s when Robbie takes off his turban, hands it over to his house help and smokes a cigarette in sadness.
Manmarziyaan, which released on September 14, also stars Vicky Kaushal.
(With inputs from PTI)