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Indian Audiences Want to See Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine,' Fed Up with Movie Theater Rules that Repel Filmmakers UPDATED

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood October 14, 2013 at 1:47PM

UPDATE: Indian audiences and theater owners are in an uproar over the recently canceled theatrical run of Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" in their country. The film will not be shown in India because Allen wouldn't tolerate anti-smoking messages playing during scenes from his film.
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Woody Allen
Woody Allen

UPDATE: Indian audiences and theater owners are in an uproar over the recently canceled theatrical run of Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" in their country. The film will not be shown in India because Allen wouldn't tolerate anti-smoking messages playing during scenes from his film.

Per Indiewire, the rules for mandated ads during Indian theater-going are only about to get worse, too. Beginning this week, theaters in Delhi could be forced to show a 15-minute video encouraging patrons to vote in the country's upcoming elections. An anonymous theater manager spoke to Indiewire, saying, "Unless the order comes from someone we can't reject... we are not going to follow it."

EARLIER: The upcoming theatrical release of Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" in India has been stubbed out. Why? Because Allen didn't want the country's mandated anti-smoking ads playing before and during his film. India's Ministry of Health ads, which depict the health hazards of tobacco, have to play before every film that includes characters smoking, and overlay an anti-smoking text message on the scenes where characters light up.

Cate Blanchett in 'Blue Jasmine'
Cate Blanchett in 'Blue Jasmine'

Allen has creative control per his distribution agreement. The Hollywood Reporter quotes PVR Pictures COO Deepak Sherma: "[Allen] 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."

We can't recall exactly when characters smoke in "Blue Jasmine," but if it's anywhere near half as often as Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) reaches for her Stoli vodka or Xanax, then those anti-tobacco scrolls would be quite the distraction.

In 2012, David Fincher similarly bumped heads with India's censors, who wanted "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" cut (presumably to eliminate the more brutally graphics scenes, such as Lisbeth Salander's rape). Fincher refused, and so that film didn't receive distribution there, either.

This article is related to: News, Woody Allen, Woody Allen, Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine, News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.