Javed Akhtar fires back at Sandeep Reddy Vanga: ‘What a shame’

Hyderabad Desk

Mumbai: Veteran screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar recently found himself in a heated exchange with filmmaker Sandeep Reddy Vanga over the latter’s movie, Animal, starring Ranbir Kapoor. The controversy began when Javed expressed concerns about the impact of certain scenes in the film on the audience.

In an interview with Mojo Story, Javed clarified his stance, emphasizing that he wasn’t directly criticizing Sandeep but rather highlighting the responsibility filmmakers have in shaping characters that society will applaud.

The veteran lyricist said, “I wasn’t criticizing the filmmaker. In a democratic society, he has every right to create one Animal or multiple Animals. My concern lies with the audience, not the filmmaker. He has the liberty to create any film.” He said

While he hadn’t seen the movie personally, he had heard of it. He respected Sandeep’s right to portray characters in accordance with his beliefs, as protected by the constitution. However, he was concerned about the many individuals who had praised the film.

He also responded to Vamga’s comment on Mirzapur and said, “When he responded to me, I was honored. In 53 years of my career, he could not find one film, one script, one scene, one dialogue, and one song. So he had to go to my son’s office and find a TV serial, which is neither acted, directed, or written by Farhan. His company has produced it. Nowadays, these big companies like Excel are producing a lot of things. So one of them is this. He mentioned that. It flattered me to no end. 53 years ke career mein tum kuchh bhi nahi nikaal paye (You couldn’t find anything sexist in 53 years of my career)? What a shame.

The controversy erupted when Javed spoke at an event and said in reference to the shoe-licking scene between Ranbir and Triptii Dimri’s characters in Animal, “I believe it’s a testing time for the young filmmakers today as to what kind of characters they want to create that the society will applaud. For instance, if there’s a film in which a man asks a woman to lick his shoe or if a man says it’s okay to slap a woman, and if the film is a super duper hit, then that’s very dangerous.”

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Helmed by Vanga, the film stars Ranbir Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Anil Kapoor and Rashmika Mandanna in the lead roles.

In a later conversation with Siddharth Kanan, Vanga commented on Javed’s criticism of Mirzapur. Vanga suggested that Akhtar should have similarly questioned his son, Farhan Akhtar, who produced the Mirzapur web series.

“One thing is clear that he (Akhtar) didn’t see the film. That’s very clear in the comment that he didn’t see the entire film. Abhi koi picture bina dekhe baat karta hai toh unke baare mein kya baat kare… Vo jo bhi ho, regular critic ho or best of the writers in the world… he’s talking about my work, so obviously I’ll feel bad. It’s not only about him but anyone who is throwing stone on any art piece, why don’t they check their surroundings first?”

He further mentioned, “Did he tell the same thing to Farhan Akhtar when he was producing Mirzapur? Pura duniya bhar mein jitna gaaliyan hai vo Mirzapur ek show mein hai. I have not seen the full show. I saw also around 15 scenes and when you see those scene in Telugu, you will really feel like puking. Why is he not checking his son’s work?”

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