Indian law requires that any film depicting smoking – such as Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine – be screened with an anti-tobacco ad preceding the movie, and a caption during the smoking scenes. Rather than alter his film, Allen, whose distribution agreement with India’s PVR Pictures gives him creative control, just said screw it and went off to make out with his daughter some more.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
According to a report, Reuters quoted unnamed sources, stating that Allen refused to make “customizations” in the film to accommodate the ads, which led PVR Pictures to cancel the release. “Allen was adamant that he wanted the film to be shown as he had made it, without any additions to the print,” one of the sources said.
“Due to content in the film, it cannot be shown in India in its intended manner. Therefore, the film is not scheduled to play there,” a spokesman for Allen’s publicists, 42 West, was also quoted stating.
“Woody Allen has creative control as per the (distribution) agreement,” PVR Pictures COO Deepak Sharma told India’s DNA newspaper. “He wasn’t comfortable with the disclaimer that we are required to run when some smoking scene is shown in films. He feels that when the scroll comes, attention goes to it rather than the scene.”
And knowing India, the ad was probably all singing and dancing, and Lord knows how hard it is to follow a musical number with turgid discussions about categorical imperatives.
I’m not sure how I come down on this one. I’m all for artists refusing to be censored, but on the other hand, that’s a billion people who now won’t be able to see your movie. But it is Woody Allen we’re talking, and he’ll probably have another movie out there within six months anyway.
Considering Blue Jasmine stars Andrew Dice Clay, I was hoping that it’d include not only smoking, but some behind-the-head smoking.