The war of words between veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar and filmmaker Sandeep Reddy Vanga continues to make headlines, with Vanga firing back at Akhtar’s recent criticism of his film Animal.
In an interview with Siddharth Kannan, Vanga responded to Akhtar’s labelling of films like Animal as “dangerous” due to their portrayal of misogyny and violence. Vanga suggested that Akhtar should scrutinise his son Farhan Akhtar’s production, Mirzapur, known for its explicit language and content, before casting stones at other projects.
Expressing his frustration, Vanga pointed out that Akhtar’s critique seemed uninformed, as it appeared he had not watched the entirety of Animal. He questioned the validity of criticism from individuals who haven’t thoroughly engaged with the art they’re condemning, urging them to examine their own surroundings before passing judgment.
Sandeep said, “It is very clear that he did not watch the film. It’s very clear in that comment that he did not see the entire film. Now if someone is talking without watching the film, what can I say about them? Obviously, you feel bad because it is very clear that he has not seen the film and not only about him; anybody who is throwing stones on an art piece, why don’t they check their surroundings first?”
He added, “Why didn’t he tell the same thing to Farhan Akhtar when he was producing Mirzapur. Duniya bhar ke gaali Mirzapur ek show mai hai (the series is full of abuses) and I haven’t watched the whole show. When the show was translated to Telugu, if you watch that, then you will feel like puking. Why is he not checking his son’s work?”
Vanga’s comments come amidst ongoing debates surrounding Animal, starring Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna, Bobby Deol, Anil Kapoor, and Triptii Dimri. Despite mixed reviews, the movie emerged as one of the highest-grossing films of 2023, raking in over Rs 9 billion worldwide.
Javed Akhtar’s remarks were made during the Ajanta Ellora International Film Festival in Aurangabad, where he criticised scenes in films that depict men demeaning women and glorifying violence. Akhtar’s comments were specifically directed at a scene in Animal where Ranbir Kapoor’s character demands Triptii Dimri’s character to lick his shoe as a test of love, as well as a reference to Vanga’s previous film Kabir Singh, known for its controversial portrayal of relationships.
“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 the film is a super hit, that’s dangerous,” Javed said at Ajanta Ellora International Film Festival. (Agencies)