Writer Manoj Muntashir Shukla, who received a significant portion of the backlash against Adipurush, has said in a new interview that not only was writing the film a bad idea, defending himself publicly in the immediate aftermath of its disastrous debut was the worst thing that he could’ve done. Released in June, the mythological epic was universally panned and failed to recover its massive reported budget of Rs 600 crore. While the main cast – Prabhas, Saif Ali Khan and Kriti Sanon – didn’t utter a word about the debacle, Manoj allowed himself to be interviewed several times.
In a chat with AajTak, the writer said that his family became concerned for his safety when he started receiving death threats following the film’s release. “The world may consider you good and tomorrow it may be considered bad but for your family you are a hero,” he said, revealing that he moved abroad for some time and waited for the controversy to die down.
He said that it was a ‘mistake’ to write the movie, but that he never meant to hurt the sentiments of devout Hindus. “A mistake has been made, a big mistake has been made… I have learned a lot from this accident and it was a great learning process. I will be very careful from now on,” he said.
Manoj said that his ‘biggest mistake’ was to offer clarifications days after the film’s release. “I should not have spoken at that time. If people are angry with this, then their anger is justified,” he said. In those interviews, Manoj had also quoted from the Ramayana and explained why he’d made certain creative choices in the film. A lot of anger was directed at him for writing scenes in which Hanuman spoke in colloquialisms; these lines were altered following the film’s release, but even that didn’t sway audience sentiment.
In conclusion, the writer said that he deserves a ‘second chance’ on the strength of his past work, which includes the Hindi translation for the Telugu-language Baahubali blockbusters, and the hit tracks “Teri Mitti” and “Desh Mere.” He said, “I say this with great pride that today in this country you cannot celebrate Ram Navami, Diwali, Dussehra without my songs.”