Remove lyrics on drinking & smoking in Vijay’s Naan Ready song from Leo: CBFC

The CBFC was taking cognisance of a complaint filed by Rajeshwaripriya, president of the Anaithu Makkal Arasiyal Katchi, over the representation of drinking and smoking on screen by Vijay.
Vijay in the lyric video of Naa Ready song
Vijay in the lyric video of Naa Ready song
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Controversy over the song ‘Naan Ready’ from Vijay’s upcoming film Leo continues after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) ordered changes to some of the lyrics that refer to smoking and alcohol use. In an order issued on Friday, September 8, the CBFC has directed the following lines to be removed: ‘Pathaadhu bottle naa kudikka andaava konda cheers adikka’ and ‘Paththavatchu pogaiya utta power kikku, pogaiyala pogaiyala power kikku.’ These lyrics describe the kind of swagger that the hero — Vijay — has after drinking and smoking.

The order was sent to the producers of Leo, Seven Screen Studio, after a complaint was filed with the CBFC by Rajeshwaripriya, the founder-president of the Anaithu Makkal Arasiyal Katchi. Rajeshwaripriya had filed a complaint on August 4, taking issue with the representation of drinking and smoking on screen by Vijay. Released earlier this year, the song is sung by Vijay himself.

Additionally, the CBFC also ordered the removal of the lines, ‘Milli ulla pona podhum gilli vella varuvaanda.’ The last is a reference to Vijay’s 2004 film Ghilli in which he plays a formidable kabaddi star. According to the lyrics, once the hero has consumed a ‘milli’ (a peg of alcohol), the Ghilli inside him will emerge.

Further, the CBFC ordered the film’s producers to, “Reduce and replace the shots of hero smoking, including close up shots, wherever shown in the song. Also the disclaimers for smoking should be kept as per norms by increasing the font size. The disclaimer should be legible and readable and in bold black font on white background.”

This is not the first time the song is running into trouble. In June, an activist named Selvam lodged a police complaint against Vijay alleging that the song promotes rowdyism and smoking. Earlier too Tamil stars have faced opposition over smoking or drinking on screen. In the mid-2000s, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), a regional party currently in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made headlines when it took issue with a poster of Rajinikanth smoking in his then upcoming film Baba. The controversy erupted into clashes between PMK cadres and the Superstar’s fans, with theatres in Madurai being attacked at the time of Baba’s release. PMK also carried out protests in order to stop screenings. Vijay too was criticised by the PMK for a scene of him smoking in the trailer of his film Sarkar (2018). The party has since also directed its ire at other popular stars like Ajith and Dhanush.

Leo is Vijay’s much-awaited second team-up with director Lokesh Kanagaraj known for Master (2021) also starring Vijay, the Kamal Hassan-starrer Vikram (2022), and Kaithi (2019). Lokesh’s multi-star approach and unusual-for-Tamil-cinema storytelling have led to some of the director’s movies being described as the Lokesh Cinematic Universe (LCU) — a rehash of Disney’s superhero Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). As Leo is expected to fall within the LCU, the excitement for the film is running high among both Vijay and Lokesh fans. Leo will be releasing on October 19.

Read: The politics of smoking: Why Rajinikanth gave up his famed cigarette toss

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