They top the charts and rake in the moolah. And when we are not drooling over their acting, whistling for their dialogues and applauding those action-packed scenes, there are those CONTROVERSIES that hit the headlines! Our sympathies if you are a Salman Khan fan…
2018 was special for more reasons than one. Taimur Ali Khan regaled the paparazzi with his adorable ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye’ wave; A-list actresses tied the knot with their significant others; the top Khans: Salman and Shah Rukh Khan failed the box-office test!
As we prepare to bid farewell to this year, here’s a quick recap of the biggest controversies of Bollywood that caused disruption and differences!
Never in the history of Indian cinema did we witness something of this magnitude. A director being slapped, the sets of his historical drama vandalised and death threats issued to his leading lady! Sanjay Leela Bhansali faced the brunt of oppression from the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, who insisted that the filmmaker had distorted facts and maligned queen Padmavati, in his magnum opus. Bounties were offered to chop off titular lead Deepika Padukone’s nose, and a blanket nationwide ban on Bhansali’s labour of love was sought.
Initially slated to release on December 1, 2017, Padmavati finally managed to clear every hurdle and release in cinemas as Padmaavat in January, 2018. While Ranveer Singh’s heinous portrayal of Khilji fetched heavy praise, Swara Bhasker seemed to have been let down by the way women were portrayed in the SLB drama. She bashed the film and the Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam maker, in an open letter.
History was made, not in the way we all expected though, but yes.
Salman Khan – – death threats, Blackbuck verdict
It’s inappropriate if the list of controversies ends without a mention of its favourite child! A fixation on the charts year after year, the Dabangg Khan still enjoyed the media glare with a fair share of rows. The actor faced a prison sentence in the two-decade-old Blackbuck poaching case, by a Jodhpur court. After spending two nights in jail, a routine transfer of judges in Rajasthan led to a new hearing and of course, he was released on bail.
While the Wanted star managed to dodge more nights behind bars, he next met with death threats. Lawrence Bishnoi. A notorious criminal and gangster charged in more than 20 cases of attempted murder, extortion, car-jacking, snatching and under the Arms Act in Punjab-Haryana, openly issued death threats to the Tiger Zinda Hai hero.
What followed next seemed like a dramatic scene from a film… While shooting a track with Jacqueline Fernandez for his upcoming Race 3, the police landed up on set and issued orders to stop the shoot! Reason: the leading man’s life was apparently in danger! Producer Ramesh Taurani lost no time in following the advice. Salman was bundled off home, escorted by six policemen, while his car was driven back to his Bandra residence by another group of cops!
Actress Tanushree Dutta’s claim about being sexually harassed by actor Nana Patekar a decade ago, got Hindi film celebs wagging tongues more than ever about the #MeToo movement. While the ball could have started rolling a decade ago, Dutta’s accusations were blatantly ignored at that time, while she chose to quit the glam world altogether.
In the light of Tanushree alleging molestation at the hands of Patekar, several others mustered up the courage to voice the atrocities they were subjected to! The result: Alok Nath was arrested and directors Sajid Khan and Vikas Bahl ousted from their projects while many others were named and shamed!
Guess this is just the beginning of a change we have long been denied…
Priyanka Chopra exits Salman Khan’s Bharat, The Cut article
After a hiatus of three years and a successful innings in the West (Quantico, Baywatch, A Kid Like Jake), Priyanka Chopra announced her homecoming with Salman Khan’s Bharat. “Desi girl to sizzle on our silver screen soon!” were our words, but alas… The happiness was short-lived. PeeCee abandoned the ship for a planned wedding with her American singer beau Nick Jonas instead. At least that’s what she said!
The global icon continued however, to shoot for Shonali Bose’s The Sky is Pink! She enjoyed breaks between schedules, to plan her big day with Jonas. It was all okay until Khan publicly expressed why Chopra chose to exit from the Ali Abbas Zafar directed film. He revealed that his Mujhse Shaadi Karoge co-star (PC) had called his sister and her good friend Arpita Khan-Sharma to convince Bhaijaan to sign her! Weird how this circle works, but now, all’s well between Salman and Priyanka!
The 53-year-old superstar attended Nickyanka’s wedding reception and even hosted the newlyweds at his residence later that night.
In another episode, a certain article following the Priyanka-Nick wedding by The Cut, had eyes rolling. The writer called the 36-year-old a “scam artist” and reiterated that she had manipulated Jonas into marrying her! After a severe backlash from every section of the Press and the entertainment world, the website took down the piece and issued an apology.
The Saif Ali Khan, Radhika Apte and Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Netflix’s Sacred Games hit troubled waters soon after its release. The show, based on the novel of the same name by Vikram Chandra, was directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. A plea was filed in the Delhi High Court for showing former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s involvement in the Bofors scam; and sporting derogatory dialogues for the former late PM.
The series contained a scene in the fourth episode in which lead actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui was seen abusing Rajiv Gandhi and calling him ‘fattu’ (p*** as translated in the subtitle of the show). The court withheld the freedom of speech and granted relief to the OTT platform and makers.
The PIL, filed by a certain lawyer also claimed that the series incorrectly depicted political events like the Shah Bano case, the Babri Masjid demolition and communal riots.
Prernaa Arora (KriArj Entertainment) jailed!
The arrival of the Prernaa Arora and Arjun N. Kapoor-founded KriArj Entertainment in showbiz, was announced by huge back to back hits – Rustom, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, PadMan and Pari. Thereafter the production house’s stars took a turn for the worse as they were neck-deep in troubled waters!
First, they were embroiled in controversy and a bitter row with Abhishek Kapoor on his directorial venture Kedarnath, with Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan in the lead. Ronnie Screwvala jumped into the fray and finally got the movie on the floors, after paying KriArj Entertainment and Ekta Kapoor their dues for the rights of the film. Next up was an ugly legal spat with John Abraham over Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran. The honourable High Court favoured the actor and handed the reins of the film to John Abraham.
Another setback soon followed as their two then under-production movies Fanney Khan (Anil Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan) and Batti Gul Meter Chalu (Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Yami Gautam), were lapped up by Bhushan Kumar of T-Series. The Shree Narayan Singh directed film was stalled for a brief period due to monetary issues.
Come December and Prernaa was arrested. Along with co-founder Arjun, she was picked up by the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch and produced in an Esplanade Court in a case filed by film distributor Vashu Bhagnani. EOW arrested Prernaa for cheating to the tune of INR 31.6 crore, while in possession of multiple passports and pan cards!
The Salman-Katrina-Shilpa ‘caste’ remark row…
Think twice before you speak. And if you are Salman Khan, please don’t speak. Because controversies flow out of that very mouth apparently. During the promotion of his film Tiger Zinda Hai, Khan, while on a show with Katrina Kaif, had used the word ‘bhangi’ to describe his dancing skills. A complaint was registered against the actor for having used the word in a derogatory way and hurting the sentiments of Valmiki community.
Katrina found herself embroiled too since the remark was passed in her presence. Shilpa Shetty too found herself at the receiving end after she used the word to reveal her stay-at-home look. Salman and Shilpa were summoned by the deputy SP of Rajasthan’s Churu district, Hukum Singh in this regard in January 2018.
Mika Singh jailed
Singer Mika Singh was arrested in Dubai when a 17-year-old Brazilian model lodged a complaint about Mika allegedly sending her inappropriate pictures. It was reported that Mika was then taken to Abu Dhabi by the police, as the complainant held an Abu Dhabi resident visa.
Following the intervention of the Indian Embassy, the hit Punjabi artiste was released. However, he is expected to appear in court later.
LoveYatri – name change
The right-wing organisation, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), was irked by the earlier title Loveratri, Salman Khan’s brother-in-law Aayush Sharma and Warina Hussain’s debut vehicle. The name, according to them, distorted the meaning of the Hindu festival, Navratri.
Later, a Bihar court ordered an FIR to be lodged against co-producer Salman, stating that the title hurt religious sentiments and promoted vulgarity. The makers of the film then changed the title to Loveyatri.
“We don’t want to hurt sentiments of people because we are making a love story not a hate story,” commented Salman, on the name change.
Anurag Kashyap’s offering Manmarziyaan was a bitter-sweet tale of love. However, the film couldn’t escape controversy. Members of the Sikh community in Ambala, reportedly expressed displeasure over the smoking scenes in the movie. Reportedly, a petition was also filed in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court by a Sikh organisation, objecting to a scene in which Abhishek Bachchan’s character smokes a cigarette after removing his turban.
Taapsee Pannu’s character Rumi smoking, also met with disappointment from the community. However, the makers deleted the scenes without the director or the team’s knowledge, leaving Kashyap angry!
The deleted scenes include one featuring Abhishek Bachchan’s Robbie smoking and one of Taapsee Pannu’s Rumi smoking. The third scene had the two of them enter a Gurudwara as man and wife, while Rumi was thinking of her past with Vicky Kaushal’s character!
The 65th National Film Awards were marred by controversy after over 60 recipients decided to give the distribution ceremony a miss. In a departure from tradition, President Ram Nath Kovind gave away just 11 awards, while the winners termed the whittling down of the number of those to be honoured as a “breach of trust”.
Filmmakers and artistes from across the nation, wrote letters to address their displeasure. The nameplates of the absentee winners were placed face down at Vigyan Bhawan. Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, handed out the remainder of the 125 awards at the event, which was also devoid of a musical performance, unlike every year.
Abhishek Kapoor’s directorial venture Kedarnath found itself in the eye of the storm ever since its inception. First, the film landed in trouble following co-producer Prernaa Arora’s legal mess with Kapoor. While Ronnie Screwvala saved the day, a BJP leader demanded a ban on the film, accusing it of promoting ‘love jihad’. Screwvala urged people to watch the movie before forming opinions.
In another incident, a case was filed in a local court at Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh, against the Bollywood flick. Depicting the love story of a Muslim porter and a Hindu girl on a pilgrimage to Kedarnath, the film marked the debut of Sara Ali Khan, daughter of actress Amrita Singh and Saif Ali Khan.
The petitioner objected to the film, his lawyers pointed out, for a variety of reasons, including the passionate love scenes and alleged promotion of love jihad, obscene dance sequences in the backdrop of a major disaster, the scars of which are still afresh in the minds of the victims and their families.
Ahead of the release of Kedarnath, the Uttarakhand government wrote to all district magistrates about the film and the controversies surrounding it. The government left it to their discretion as to whether or not the film should be released in their respective jurisdictions. The film did not release in the state at all!
Thugs of Hindostan…Zero – Zero!!!
Promotions are an integral, long-held tradition that comprise the post-production process of a movie release. 2018 witnessed the release of a huge multi-starrer film, Thugs of Hindostan, featuring the iconic Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh. However, this YashRaj production skipped the promotional rounds, meeting the audience directly at cinema halls.
Well, the results were out for everyone to see! Can’t really blame the lack of promotion since despite a string of promotional events, meet and greet and interviews, Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero couldn’t impress fans either! The film, which marked Katrina’s second outing and Anushka Sharma’s third with SRK, failed to attract.
Chahe jo tarkeeb aazma lo sahab, content is king!
Naseeruddin Shah’s comment
A Naseeruddin Shah is seen as a trespasser in the land of mobsters who view recent incidents in India, under the Narendra Modi microscope. On December 3, mob violence broke out in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district, over an alleged cow slaughter in the Mahaw village. The episode ended in the death of two, including police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh.
Soon after, the Uttar Pradesh police expressed their concern in uncovering the murderers of the cow, whilst UP chief minister Adityanath also ordered a probe into the alleged slaughter. The killing of inspector Singh was ignored and how… Speaking to Karwan-e-Mohabbat India, Naseeruddin expressed concern over the event and said, “The death of a cow has more significance than that of a police officer.” He also said that he doesn’t see “the situation improving anytime soon”.
He further said, “There is complete impunity for those who take the law into their own hands. The poison has already spread and it is difficult to put this jinn back into the bottle.”
Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
The Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi has managed to stay in the news for both, the right and wrong reasons. Starting with the director’s exit from the project, Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi’s walked out midway to shoot another film. Soon, actor Sonu Sood and Swati Semwal chose the door, citing re-scheduling and re-shoots as the issue. Sood was then also shooting for the Ranveer Singh-Sara Ali Khan starrer, Simmba. Altercations between Sood and Ranaut also hogged the headlines.
Another hiccup reported, was the sacking of the producer by Zee Studios. A report by a leading daily stated that the CEO was replaced for the increased budget and too many schedule changes leading to the same. Kangana, however, denied any such news.
Gold vs Satyameva Jayate clash
Co-stars of Garam Masala, Desi Boyz and Housefull 2, Akshay Kumar and John Abraham, clashed on Independence Day this year! While John asserted that the decision of a release lies with the producer, Kumar seemed rather upset with Gold and Satyameva Jayate coming together on the same day.
A historical sports drama, inspired by India’s first Olympic gold medal, the Akshay-Mouni Roy film Gold traced the golden era of Indian hockey through the journey of Tapan Das, a young assistant manager in 1936, who dreamt of playing for an independent nation.
Satyameva Jayate marked the debut of actress Neha Sharma’s sister Aisha Sharma. The action-packed film hammered in an anti-corruption message on a canvas of patriotism, laced with punchy dialogues.
This clash of John and Akshay seemed a little sad though – considering the two are said to be good friends!
Many lessons learnt, many not, 2018 was pretty eventful. Let’s see what 2019 has in store… We definitely don’t hope for a repeat of this year though!