Bazmi livid with cuts in ‘Welcome’ for Pakistan release

February 22nd, 2008 - 9:43 am ICT by admin  

By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, Feb 22 (IANS) Writer-director Anees Bazmi, who delivered one of the biggest hits of 2007 with “Welcome”, is angry and upset that his film was released in Pakistan and he didn’t even know about it, and also how it was mutilated. “I had no clue my ‘Welcome’ was to be released in Pakistan! Nobody told me anything about it, not even producer Feroz Nadiadwala,” Bazmi told IANS.

He added: “I guess once I direct and deliver a film it’s no longer my intellectual or commercial property. Fair enough. But what was the harm if I was told about such a big event in my life as filmmaker?”

Starring Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Anil Kapoor, Feroz Khan, Nana Patekar and Paresh Rawal, the laugh riot was a huge success in India.

Not too many Indian films have been released in the neighbouring country. There was Akbar Khan’s “Taj Mahal” and Mahesh Bhatt’s “Awaraapan”. Both had a connection with Pakistan.

” ‘Welcome’ had no relevance to people across the border except entertainment. So, yes, I’d have loved to be part of its release there. It’s sad that I got to know about it through my friends in Pakistan. I agree I was out of the country working on my script. But I was just a phone call away,” said Bazmi who hit the jackpot with “No Entry”.

What hurt Bazmi even more was that one of his main characters, played by Feroz Khan, has been totally obliterated in Pakistan.

“I understand Feroz Khan saab had some problems with the local authorities in Pakistan when he visited there and made some remarks they didn’t like. But why should my film suffer for that?

“His role is very important in ‘Welcome’. He’s there for nearly an hour of the film’s two-hour playing time. By cutting his track in the plot, you’re reducing my film to incoherency. I find that hard to accept.”

Ironically, pirated DVDs of “Welcome” with the ostensibly offensive portions featuring Feroz Khan flooded the Pakistani market months before the film’s official release in the country.

Fumes Bazmi: “I don’t know why I wasn’t taken into confidence about the release, or how the film could’ve been re-edited so drastically without my consent. I understand distributors have their own compulsions and demands. But my film can’t be mutilated for political purposes.”

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