I don’t want to disturb sanctity of my film: Anubhav Sinha on ‘Bheed’ controversy

PTI, Mar 21, 2023, 8:12 PM IST

Image credit: Twitter /@anubhavsinha

Mumbai: There’s a sanctity to his film and he would not like to disturb it, says Anubhav Sinha, sidestepping the controversy over the trailer of “Bheed” that landed in controversy for drawing parallels between the lockdown and Partition.

The first trailer of the movie was pulled off and re-released with changes, including the omission of a speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a dialogue referencing Partition.

”Of course, these changes are obvious. The trailer was off air for two days (and) the changes mentioned are correct. But that reason is the filmmaker’s business.

“There is a sanctity to the film and I would not like to disturb it,” Sinha told PTI in an interview.

“Bheed”, a black and white film starring Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar, is Sinha’s take on the mass migrant movement during the March 2020 lockdown in India.

He termed the “lockdown” the trigger for the film.

”Sometimes I get attracted by the headlines, or something that has been probably bothering me for sometime…I don’t like being angry but I am angry towards who we have become and who we are becoming.” Referring to the controversy over his film’s trailer, the director said audiences these days are provoked into talking about gossip surrounding a movie when all they should care about is whether they like it or not.

”Unfortunately, these days, they are being provoked into talking about this because it is gossip. And human nature likes gossip, likes sensational news, even if it is untrue. (But) art should be excluded from that. What is important is, did you like the film?” Referring to ”Bheed” being labelled ”anti-India” by a section of social media users, he said “… there are enough people thumping their chest and celebrating it, which is great” but someone has to speak up about the issues too.

”Those people who thought my film is anti-India, I love them for being Indians and I try to be better as an Indian myself… Don’t you criticise your mother? You criticise your mother, father, sister, but you love them dearly. Why do you criticise them? Because you want them to be better, you think they can be better.

”I love my country and society so dearly, I think we should rise higher, we should do better…” In an Instagram post, Sinha also asked audiences to ignore the brouhaha surrounding the movie, releasing on March 24.

On rumours that T-series, the co-producers of the movie, had distanced themselves from the film, Sinha said the studio’s boss Bhushan Kumar was a friend and they will collaborate on many projects in future.

”These are difficult films. In terms of making as well as in terms of taking it to you, but still it is our responsibility to make these films and more importantly, that you watch these films.

”Need one more help. Please don’t think about how it was censored, how it will be released, why the trailer was removed from T-series channel, why Bhushan’s (Kumar) name was removed… These are all the battles of the filmmaker. We are fighting, we will fight,” he said.

The ”Ra.One” filmmaker, whose second innings has seen him evolve into a socio-political filmmaker with hard-hitting dramas such as “Mulk”, “Article 15”, “Thappad” and “Anek”, said there are a lot of decisions that are taken for different reasons during the edit of a film.

If ”Mulk” talked about Islamophobia, ”Article 15” focused on Dalit issues and ”Thappad” on domestic violence, Fellow director Hansal Mehta was the first person he narrated the story to, he told PTI.

”I called him at night, I told him the story, he was very happy and he said, ‘make it, it is wonderful’. I normally bounce off my stories to Sudhir (Mishra) bhai, Hansal, Ketan (Mehta), and Anurag (Kashyap).” His films may cover topical issues but they are not ”political” in nature, Sinha claimed.

”It is a social film. Is ‘Mulk’ a political film? Is ‘Article 15’ a political film? Is ‘Anek’ a political film? I make films about us. I don’t make films about electoral politics… I don’t think films have the capacity to do anything to the electoral choices of people or bodies.”

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