With less than a week to go before its Toronto premiere and theatrical release on September 16, Pankaj Kapur’s directorial debut has run into problems. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has objected to a post-interval action sequence involving six fighter planes, one of them commandeered by the film’s lead actor, Shahid Kapoor. Without a No Objection Certificate from the IAF, the Censor Board will not clear the film for release. However, Shahid, who plays Squadron Leader Harinder (Harry) Singh, is confident that the film will release on its planned date.
The actor insists that they followed all the rules and regulations meticulously. Even the action sequence that is the bone of contention was monitored. “But certain special effects and computer graphics were added during post-production, and that’s come under scrutiny,” he informs, adding that the IAF is extremely happy with the film otherwise, and even students from the National Defence Academy have written to them with positive reactions to the promos. “Mausam is the first film after Govind Nihalani’s Vijeta (1982) to be given permission by the IAF to shoot extensively on their bases in Pune and
Gwalior, and that was because of dad (Pankaj Kapur) and his reputation as an actor. The script was submitted to them before the film rolled, so both, the story and the way my character was presented, could be vetted,” says the actor, recalling how during his first visit to the Air Force base in Pune before the shoot, he was flooded with curious queries from officers. “They wanted to know how long my hair would be and if I was going to shave off the beard I was sporting those days.”
Shahid admits that while the last-minute objection that reached them last Wednesday has come as a surprise, it’s only about 30 seconds of footage and requires minor alteration. “It’s important to us to ensure that the film is authentic and correct in its depiction of the IAF without compromising on the story, sequence or film. Our relationship with the IAF has been fantastic over the last year and I’m confident the issue will be resolved amicably over the next couple of days. I’m hoping to walk the red carpet at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday. It’s wonderful to be able to represent Hindi cinema at such a prestigious festival and to be the face of the IAF.”