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Abhishek Bachchan on the Manmarziyaan cuts: I have no issue with the move

Director Anurag Kashyap and lead actress Taapsee Pannu have slammed the decision of the producers to cut three scenes.

Keyur Seta

The producers of Manmarziyaan (2018) deleted three shots from the film after some members of the Sikh community claimed to have been offended by them.

This did not go down well with the film’s director, Anurag Kashyap, who said the producers did not even inform him about this decision. Taapsee Pannu, the lead actress of the film, has also slammed the decision.

However, Abhishek Bachchan, who was involved in two of the scenes, said he has no problem with the cuts because they do not change the narrative of the film.

Sikhs object to Manmarziyaan; Anurag Kashyap defends smoking scenes

Bachchan was speaking at the Jagran Film Summit, ahead of next week's Jagran Film Festival, in Mumbai today.

"I think each individual is allowed to react the way they want," the actor said. "It’s their personal opinion. For me, it’s not a big deal because… see, what is your film about? My film isn’t about smoking. I have no problem cutting that out if somebody has taken objection to it.” 

Bachchan continued, “The intention of the makers is not to upset anybody or any community. We are not here to ruffle any features. We just wanted to make a nice love story. That’s what the film is about.

"If cutting one or two shots placates somebody and makes them feel better, I have no problem doing that. I say this very sincerely. I really have no issue with that. If me cutting out three shots that are not impacting my narrative makes them happy, I have no problems.”

Bachchan added that such a demand can be entertained if it is genuine. “Ask yourselves two questions, why and who is objecting?" he said. "What is the purpose behind that objection? ... As somebody who is a part of a film, as a filmmaker, you make movies for an audience. If even one member of the audience has an issue with something, you need to first ascertain if it’s a genuine issue. If yes, you need to address it.” 

The actor said the reason is to protect the theatres: “If I am convinced with that, the next thing I would ask myself is, who is the loser here? In the situation we are right now, it’s the exhibitors that stand to lose. I as an actor have done my job. The producer has sold his film to a studio. The studio sold it to the distributor, who sold it to the exhibitor. If there is an objection or protest, there is going to be a cinema hall that will be vandalized.”

As far as setting a bad precedent goes, Bachchan said, “You want to stand today and say, ‘How can you do this? This is a bad precedent.’ Please underwrite all the losses that people down the chain are going to face. That’s my industry as well. I have to think about them.”

The actor, however, said his stance would be different if the cuts were to affect the film's narrative. “If there is something that is changing the narrative and reason for making the film, then I can sit and debate and find out,” he said.

Asked if he agreed with the protests against Kashyap’s co-production Udta Punjab (2016), he replied, “No. I understand why they would want to say what they wanted to say in Udta Punjab. These are three very basic shots. It’s not a big deal. Why is it worth all the trouble for my exhibitor who is part of my extended family?”

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