Aanand L Rai Responds to ‘Manmarziyaan’ Cuts Controversy

A scene in Manmarziyaan had left some members of the Sikh community disgruntled. 

3 min read
Abhishek Bachchan in<i> Manmarziyaan</i>.

Producer Aanand L. Rai has spoken out about the ongoing Manmarziyaan controversy, taking responsibility for ordering voluntary cuts to the film.

In a statement to Mumbai Mirror, Aanand said, “ The decision of deleting the scenes was taken by Colour Yellow Productions. I thought if they are hurting someone’s sentiments, I might as well take them out as that’s not what my film is about.”

Aanand added that he understood Anurag Kashyap’s hurt feelings over the cuts, but he had to take a practical decision since exhibitors in Punjab and Jammu were refusing to screen Manmarziyaan.

Earlier, Eros had responded to Anurag’s accusation that they were responsible for the cuts with a statement. “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.”

A scene in Anurag Kashyap’s latest film Manmarziyaan has reportedly left some members of the Sikh community disgruntled. A Sikh organisation filed a petition against the film in the Jammu wing of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday, 18 September, pushing the director to issue a clarification.

A scene in the film shows Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan) removing his turban before going away from his house for a smoke. Since Sikhism prohibits smoking or the use of tobacco, the scene caused a controversy and was deleted from the film’s screenings in Punjab.

Later after a netizen pointed out the CBFC cuts in the film, the director had a sardonic reply for those ‘threatened by films’! Despite getting the censor board clearance, the tweet points out the voluntary deletions in the film, at the behest of the producers and even lauds the ‘self-censorship’.

Here by all problems of Punjab are solved and Sikh youth have been saved. Happy to be back in LaLa land again. Next time you are threatened by a film, please call Kishore Lulla directly on Eros, knows how to solve matters in minutes, he tweeted.

Kashyap took to Twitter to respond to the smoking controversy recently.

Anurag Kashyap’s statement.
Anurag Kashyap’s statement.

Anurag shared how they shot the film in Amritsar constantly taking into account what might or might not be proper so as to not hurt religious sentiments. Before shooting that particular scene, the team also took advice from locals on how to go about it.

“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.”
Anurag Kashyap

The intention was never to hurt, he says, but the film is about three characters and not their 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.”

Is anyone listening?

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