The Indian Air Force on Wednesday asked the makers of Anil Kapoor-starrer AK vs AK to withdraw some scenes where the actor is seen using foul language while dressed in the force’s uniform.
“The IAF uniform in this video is inaccurately donned & the language used is inappropriate,” the IAF said in a tweet, attaching a teaser of the film. “This does not conform to the behavioural norms of those in the Armed Forces of India. The related scenes need to be withdrawn.” The IAF tagged streaming service platform Netflix and director Anurag Kashyap as well, who also plays a role in the film.
On Wednesday evening, Netflix released a statement saying that the scenes were not intended to be disrespectful towards the country’s armed forces. “Our intention would never be to disrespect the Armed Forces of India in any regard,” the statement read. “AK vs AK is a film in which Anil Kapoor and his co-stars are playing themselves as actors. At no point does the film represent the Indian Air Force or our Armed Forces. We have nothing but the highest respect for the brave people protecting our nation.”
The film, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, revolves around a rivalry between Anurag Kashyap’s character and Kapoor’s. Both the actors can be seen playing a fictionalised version of themselves. “After a public spat with a movie star, a disgraced director retaliates by kidnapping the actor’s daughter, filming the search for her in real time,” reads the film’s synopsis on Netflix. The movie will release on Christmas eve. As part of the promotion for the film, Kashyap and Kapoor had recently gotten into a Twitter spat.
In the promotional teaser, Kapoor abuses Kashyap while wearing an Indian Air Force uniform. He then performs on stage, still in the uniform and in an inebriated condition, to the song My Name is Lakhan from the movie Ram Lakhan.
The tweet received mixed responses, with some users supporting the Air Force and asking it to officially take action. Others, however, said that it is just a movie and that the depiction did not demean the air force’s achievements.
Kapoor also released a video statement on Twitter apologising for offending sentiments. “It has come to my attention that the trailer of my new film AK vs AK has offended some people as I am wearing the Indian Air while using unparliamentary language,” the actor said. “I would like to sincerely offer my humble apologies for unintentionally hurting anyone’s sentiments.”
The actor went on to explain that his character was playing the role of an airforce officer whose daughter had been kidnapped. He said it was not his or the filmmaker’s intention to disrespect the force. “The anger and rage he [the character] portrays is that of an emotionally distraught father,” Kapoor said. “It was only in the interest of remaining true to the story that my character is still wearing the uniform on the quest of finding his missing daughter.”
In November, Netflix had courted another controversy over its Mira Nair-directed web series A Suitable Boy. The police in Madhya Pradesh had lodged a first information report naming two people, including the vice president of Netflix, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments after Bharatiya Janata Party members and Hindutva activists objected to one of the scenes. BJP leader Gaurav Tiwari had claimed that filming a kissing scene in a temple’s premises, with a “bhajan” or a religious song playing in the background, was “objectionable”.