John Abraham is happy that ‘Batla House’ will not miss its Independence Day release date with the Delhi High Court giving it a go ahead with some changes. The filmmakers and an Ariz Khan, an accused in the 2008 encounter case, reached a consensus on the changes. Khan was earlier seeking the postponement of the release of the film on the grounds that it would affect his trial.
Abraham, speaking at a press meet after the order on Tuesday, said some people complain about movies being a soft target but that thought never crossed his mind. “There are responsible filmmakers but some of them, I must say, aren’t very responsible also. I don’t think we fall in that bracket. That’s what democracy is about—if you have a point of view and want to raise a question, you must. It’s absolutely ok,” he said.
John said since the film deals with a contentious topic, those involved in its making should be available to answer the questions of the public.
“If people want to question us, we should be ready with answers. I wouldn’t look at myself or us as the victim here... Every time we say, ‘we are being victimised’, it doesn’t happen like this, it isn’t that bad. Except for faceless trolls on social media. Besides that everything is fine,” he said.
Director Nikkhil Advani said he was overjoyed that the film will release on August 15 as planned though there will be some delay.
“The courts had directed us to make five cuts which we have done. From evening till early this morning, we have been making those cuts. The prints have been sent out. In some centres in the rest of India, the prints will reach by 3pm, evening or even late at night.
“As a result there will be some cities where it’ll take time for the prints to reach. We just want people to bear with us. We have tried our best to send this to everyone in time but there will be some centres which won’t open till Thursday evening,” Advani said.
John said the cuts have not affected the story they are presenting in any way.
“We have seen it from before and after. From a normal audience point of view, it shouldn’t make that big a difference. I’m not worried,” the actor said.
The postponement of the film’s release was also sought by Shahzad Ahmed, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Batla House case and has challenged the verdict in the High Court. Both Khan and Ahmad are also facing trial in the 2008 Delhi serial bomb blasts case.
The movie producers, however, had claimed it is an “unsubstantiated apprehension” of the petitioners that they figure as characters in the film, slated to hit theatres on August 15.
The film’s makers agreed to put certain disclaimers and delete some scenes in the movie, which were objected to by Khan and Ahmed.