AK vs AK’s trailer, starring director Anurag Kashyap and actor Anil Kapoor, was never intended to disrespect the armed forces, said Netflix on Wednesday. The streaming service was responding to condemnation from the Indian Air Force (IAF), which had objected to what they said was inappropriate language in the trailer.
On Monday, the streaming giant released the trailer of AK vs AK, starring Kashyap and Kapoor as themselves. Based on a fictionalised feud between the director and the actor, the story revolves around the search for Anil Kapoor’s daughter, actor Sonam Kapoor, who is kidnapped by Kashyap after Kapoor insults him during a talk show.
The trailer, which features Kapoor donning an IAF uniform, shows him cursing and dancing as he desperately searches for his daughter. Several members of the armed forces on Wednesday afternoon asked for those scenes to be withdrawn, and said that the behaviour on display did not conform to the norms of the armed forces.
The IAF uniform in this video is inaccurately donned & the language used is inappropriate. This does not conform to the behavioural norms of those in the Armed Forces of India. The related scenes need to be withdrawn.@NetflixIndia @anuragkashyap72#AkvsAk https://t.co/F6PoyFtbuB
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) December 9, 2020
Netflix India was quick to respond with a clarification later that evening, saying that it never intended to disrespect the armed forces. “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,” said Netflix.
Hon. @IAF_MCC, our intention would never be to disrespect the Armed Forces of India in any regard. AK Vs. AK is a film in which Anil Kapoor and his co-stars are playing themselves as actors.
— Netflix India (@NetflixIndia) December 9, 2020
Anil Kapoor also posted a video clarifying that their intentions were not to disrespect the forces. After offering “humble apologies for unintentionally hurting anyone’s sentiments,” he said that he was expressing the “anger and rage” of “an emotional distraught father”.
Kapoor said in the video, “It was only in the interest of remaining true to the story that my character is still wearing the uniform on the quest to find his missing daughter. It was never my intend or the intend [sic] of the filmmakers to disrespect the Indian Air Force. I have always had the utmost respect and gratitude for the selfless service of all our defence persons. I truly apologise for unintentionally hurting anyone’s sentiments.”
Speaking to Silverscreen India, a retired Colonel from the Indian Army, on the condition of anonymity said, “The trailer contained scene in which Mr Anil is playing a role of movie star who is playing the role an IAF officer and hence wearing the uniform. The trailer when seen in isolation seems to send wrong message that it is an IAF officer who is behaving in such a manner.
However, he added, “The IAF has reacted in public without any clarifications from the creative artists which is avoidable.”
While many on social media joined in the condemnation of Netflix’s portrayal of the IAF uniform, some also said that “it was just a movie” an “inaccurate description” did not “demean or devalue” them.
Lot of respect for our brave men in the Indian Airforce but seriously who exactly is the @IAF_MCC to order censorship? Pls stay off art, movies , shows and other civilian issues. This is India a Civilian democracy. Jai Hind 🇮🇳 https://t.co/hz5G0k0rhR
— Tehseen Poonawalla Official (@tehseenp) December 9, 2020
In late November, Netflix refused to add a fiction disclaimer to its UK web series The Crown, despite requests to do so from the Cultural Secretary of the UK, Oliver Dowden. The Crown follows the lives of the British Royal family.
AK vs AK, helmed by Vikramaditya Motwane, stars Sonam Kapoor and Boney Kapoor, Kapoor’s elder brother, in cameo appearances and will premiere on Netflix on December 24.