'Pogaru' director to cut controversial scenes

'Pogaru' director to cut controversial scenes

Nanda Kishore

'Pogaru' director Nanda Kishore on Tuesday apologised to the Brahmin community and agreed to remove controversial scenes from the film as demanded by the Karnataka State Brahmin Development Board. 

The action-drama -- first big-scale Kannada film to be released in the Covid-era -- landed in soup soon after it hit the screens on Ferbruary 19. Upset over the 'derogatory portrayal of Brahmin priests and insulting of the community's beliefs', Board president HS Sachidananda Murthy had sought an apology and removal of those scenes from the film's team on Sunday. 

Responding to the issue, Kishore had apologised to 'everyone hurt' through a video on his social media accounts. But the Board, irked by the film team's delay to cut the scenes they felt objectionable, lodged a complaint to the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) on Tuesday. 

The issue snowballed into a controversy when the Board members protested outside the KFCC office. Offering them support were Karnataka Brahmana Mahasabha members, who protested in Kalaburagi, Mysuru, and Dharwad, slamming the film. 

The KFCC's technical committee met Murthy and Kishore to arrive at a solution. "This is a work of fiction. If we have hurt people without our knowledge, I would like to apologise to them. The editing work has begun. We will make the necessary changes and submit the re-edited film to the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for approval," Kishore said in a press conference after the meeting at KFCC. 

Murthy demanded an immediate response from the film's team. 'Pogaru' blatantly shows the Brahmin community in poor light. By Thursday evening, we want around 14 scenes to be cut from the film," he told reporters. 

One of the scenes that drew flak from Brahmins shows an antagonist placing his leg on a priest's shoulder and threatening him. People have hit out at scenes that have the protagonist mocking the community's beliefs and disrupting its religious programme. 

BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje said the screening of 'Pogaru' has to be stopped till 'such scenes were censored'. "It has become a fashion to humiliate Hindus and take a ride on our sentiments. Do they have the guts to portray other religions in this manner? Hurting Hindu emotions can't be ignored," she posted on Twitter.