Bollywood Films that sparked Controversy
The issues related to the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film has been quite a scandal. There have been a great many fights, with the Karni Sena members brutally attacking the director publicly, and some Bharatheeya Janata Party MLAs and MPs threatening the actors. One MLA even went so far as to offer a huge amount of money to anyone who would attack Deepika Padukone, who plays the lead, Rani Padmavati, in the film.
To those who are still wondering what the issue is all about, let me explain it. Rani Padmini is a fictitious Rajputana Queen who, as the fable goes, self-immolated, that is offering oneself as a sacrifice by burning. Rani, along with her many Dasis, did this to escape from an attack by the Muslim King Alauddin Khilji. The present-day Rajputs of Rajasthan claimed that the film wrongly portrays their dead Queen and had risen up against its release. The Karni Sena of Rajasthan was the strongest of opposers with its followers rallying and protesting all over the state against the actors and director alike for a ban on “Padmavati”.
Even though no one among the Karni Sena leaders had actually sat through a screening of Padmavati, they were extremely sure that the film had scenes that suggested some romantic attachment between the Rani and Alauddin Khilji. They saw the portrayal as besmirching the memory of the ancient Queen. They also had some strong negative opinions on the title of the film, which was later changed to “Padmavat”, before the release. Well, if you ask me, all the scandal only took a weight off the promoters of Padmavat! The film is doing very well in theatres as we speak!
But this is not the first time that people are going crazy over a Bollywood Film. Controversies have always been a part of the industry right from its beginning. Let’s take a look at some films that sparked controversy even before hitting the screens. These are the ones that took a very bad hit before finally being given the green card by Censor Board of India.
1. Aandhi (1975)
It is one film that cannot be avoided while talking about the controversies of Bollywood. Released during the reign of Indira Gandhi in India, it gained attention for being a film about a female Indian politician. Obviously, the government was not so keen on putting a ban on the film immediately, even though the protagonist was a little too close to Indira in appearance with the same streak of grey and similar styles of dressing. But after 20 weeks of screening, issues cropped up regarding smoking and drinking scenes of the protagonist. Thus came a blanket ban on the film. Whatever the claims of the film crew, it goes without saying that it WAS based on true events from Mrs. Gandhi’s life.
2. Bandit Queen (1994)
The Bandit Queen came was a movie shown in private screenings for invited personals only. It was said to have been the “true story” of Phoolan Devi, the infamous bandit. She herself was not invited to see the film on her life. This led to Phoolan Devi moving to court in order to procure a ban on the film. The court granted her wish by banning all screenings of the film, including the private ones. The order also asked the director to submit a true copy of the film before the court and to allow Phoolan Devi to watch it. It was indeed a little too much for the then Indian society, with scenes of cruel rape and parade. Later, the producers came forward to state that the film was based on the biography of Phoolan Devi by some writer. They declared that all reports about it being true to life are very much false. But, these statements came only after the film was screened widely.
3. The Dirty Picture (2011)
Said to be a biographical movie based on the life of the South Indian actress, ‘Silk’ Smitha, Vidya Balan was the central figure in the film. The major accusations were thus pointed at the actress and she was shamed by the Indian moral police for a bold show of cleavage on screen. Maybe, Bollywood was not ready for the move then. Nevertheless, the film was soon caught in a procession of controversial arguments, some supporting Vidya and others insulting her. The film was never banned and all the scandal erupted around the film only helped the producers in promotions. It did get Vidya Balan the reputation for being a bold actress and a strong-willed lady in Bollywood.
4. PK (2014)
The Rajkumar Hirani film starring Aamir Khan was a target for controversies and much shaming, right after its release. The MLAs of BJP, then opposition party in India, stated that the film is an insult to Hindu faith. OK was actually against the growing business that religion had become. For the very same reason, it is ironic and ridiculous that ”educated” or sensible Indians should call for a ban on the movie. Well, this isn’t a surprise because India is the nation where people fight over gods. However, the courts in India were better than the people so the film went through theatres just fine, though it made both the director and actor infamous among hardcore Hindu devotees.
5. Udta Punjab (2014)
Weeks before the film was released, there were people who actually believed that the movie would never see the light of the day. There were some very tough legal battles where the film was accused of portraying the state of Punjab in the wrong light. It is a fact that Punjab has one of the highest numbers of cases in drug deals and usages. Somewhere near 70% of its youth are addicts to one or the other of drugs. This is exactly what the film talks about. No wonder the supports and users couldn’t stand the film. The censor board intervened and after some cuts and edits, the film comes to theatres to mixed reviews. The cast included Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh among others.