Controversies and Bollywood go hand in hand. Many a times controversies have helped a movie to garner more returns at the box office and sometimes controversies have killed movies. I am presenting herewith the much hyped controversies surrounding movies in the last few years.
My Name Is Khan
MNIK one of the finest films to come out of KJo – SRK stable was marred with controversies recently due to a remark made by SRK regarding inclusion of Pakistani players in IPL. Shiv Sena threatened to kill the movie untill and unless SRK apologized for his remarks which SRK refused to cow down to. Shiv Sena went on a rampage damaging few of the multiplexes which were scheduled to screen MNIK. It was a riot kind of situation created by Shiv Sena forcing most of the multiplex owners in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka to decide against screening the movie in their multiplexes. They were of the opinion that releasing MNIK meant affecting the box office business of the other movies running in those multiplexes apart from the huge damages that would be caused to their property by Shiv Sena activists. It gave way to a political ego tussle between Shiv Sena and Congress (the ruling party) resulting in 2000 Shiv Sainiks put behind bars and threats to Shiv Sena of dire consequences by the Center. Amidst all this, few multiplexes dared to release the movie in Mumbai and comman man decided to come out and support the movie to prove a point to Shiv Sena that they wouldnt be terrorized by their threats. Last heard MNIK is breaking all the previous records held by recent movies in terms of box office collections.
Chetan Bhagat author of Five Point Someone, on which 3 Idiots is based was surprised not to get an opening credit in the film. And even in the closing credit roll, his name comes quite late. Chetan cried foul and accused Vinod Chopra, Raju Hirani and Aamir Khan for playing dirty with him. However, the gang behind 3 Idiots were quick to defend themselves by producing the copy of the contract signed by Chetan at the time of acquiring the rights of the book which clearly said that he would be getting credit in the end rolls. The producer of 3 Idiots, Vidhu Vinod Chopra has even accused Chetan of being publicity hungry as the film has now become a blockbuster hit.
Gulzar was accused of lifting the lyrics from one of the poems of the celebrated Hindi poet Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena, which goes, “Ibn Batuta Pehen Ke Joota, Nikal Pade Toofan Mein …” Saxena’s daughter Shubha Saxena accused the makers of ‘Ishqiya’ of plagiarising the poem and not crediting it to her dad. However, the filmmakers din’t agree with Shubha as according to them it was an original piece of work and Gulzar had just borrowed the first line of the poem which they claim they didn’t know about the existence of this particular poem. Gulzar was irked with the accussation and stated that there was no similarity in both the lyrics of the song and the poem apart from the name ‘Ibn Batuta’ who was a traveller and who travelled all over India and Turkey on foot. Gulzar also said that there was no copyright on using the name of Ibn Batuta and as the movie is based on two runaways the lyrics suited the situation. Shubha Saxena refused to step down and the case still hangs in mid air, meanwhile the movie has been released and declared a runaway hit.
What’s with controversy and Vishal Bharadwaj? The ‘Teli’ community were offended with the usage of the word ‘Teli’ in the song Dhan ta dhan and a nation wide agitation followed which forced the maker Vishal Bharadwaj to change the word ‘Teli’ to ‘Teeli’ in the song to please the community. The movie and the song were a runaway hit giving a drought prone movie industry a much needed hit after the 2 month long theatre stike.
Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar was in the news right from the beginning. First it took an exceptionally long time for the film to be shot and then to be edited. Then there were rumours that Jodhaa Akbar was delayed because of Aishwarya Rai’s marriage and finally when the movie did release, it faced a boycott from a tin-pot organisation called Rajput Karni Sena. It was alleged that the movie had distorted historical facts about Jodha being Akbar’s wife where as per them Jodha was his daughter-in-law. Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a prominent Hindu organisation also demanded that that certain objectionable dialogues in the film be removed. Surely, Ashutosh Gowariker must’ve thanked his stars when the movie was released and declared the first blockbuster of the year.
If in 2008 it was the Rajputs who were protesting, then in 2009 it was the turn of the barber community. The film in question was Billu – earlier calledBillu Barber. Days before its release, the makers had to change the title and knock off ‘Barber’ from the title as the barber community took offense to the same. Things didn’t end there as a word from the song Mar jaani offended certain Muslim members of the audience. Stone pelting and some drama unfolded at the theatres playing the movie as well as at Shah Rukh Khan’s house. However controversy in this case didnt help the movie to garner rich dividends and was declared a dud on its release.
Madhur Dixit’s Aaja Nachle also irked certain communities in Uttar Pradesh. A particular line from a song managed to get it into some serious trouble. So much so, Mayawati called for a nationwide ban on the movie. Trouble started when some bloke led a demonstration in front of a movie hall in New Delhi where the film was being screened. The controversy reached Parliament when Lok Sabha MP Ramdas Athawale of the Republican Party of India alleged the title song humiliated Dalits and demanded that the film be banned. Things turned uglier when even the chief minister of Punjab banned the movie expecting trouble. It took some amount of fire fighting to get things in place. Director Yash Chopra had to issue an televised, unconditional apology and remove a particular word from the song but again the movie was a big flop.
to be continued….