Woody Allen pulls film from Indian cinemas over anti-tobacco ad

Oct 08, 2013, 05:23 IST | Agencies

Acclaimed Hollywood director Woody Allen's new movie Blue Jasmine did not debut in cinemas this weekend after the filmmaker objected to anti-tobacco adverts that the government requires cinemas to play before and during movies that feature scenes with characters smoking

Allen (77) refused to make “customisations” in the film to accommodate the ads, which led to distributor PVR Pictures cancelling the release. 

No show: Woody Allen with actress Cate Blanchett. Woody Allen said the anti-smoking ads were distracting and wasn’t comfortable with the disclaimer. File Pic

A spokesman for Allen, from the firm 42 West, confirmed, saying, “Due to content in the film, it cannot be shown in India in its intended manner. Therefore, the film is not scheduled to play there.”

The anti-smoking ads would have been inserted into Allen’s film during scenes where characters are seen smoking a cigarette.

The movie stars Cate Blanchett as a wealthy New York socialite who endures a humiliating fall from grace after her husband is arrested for financial crimes. The film was supposed to come out in India this weekend.

“Allen was adamant that he wanted the film to be shown as he had made it, without any additions to the print,” a source in India said.

Blue Jasmine contains two scenes that would have triggered the warning adverts. Deepak Sharma, COO of PVR Pictures, said, “Allen has the creative control as per the agreement. He wasn’t comfortable with the disclaimer that we are required to run when some smoking scene is shown in films. He feels that when the scroll comes, attention goes to it rather than the scene.”

He added, “We had to abide by the law and we don’t have control over the film.”  

>> In the past, the Indian film censor board has banned films, including David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo because of rape and torture scenes
>> Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was also banned because of objections to the film’s portrayal of Indians and its imperialist tone

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Hollywood films formed 8.5 per cent of all box office collections last year

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