Salman Khan’s Veer is in the news yet again. After the portion of a wall fell on bystanders, the film’s unit was rapped for damaging portions of the Amber Fort. We take a look at some of the most controversial films over the years.
Arguably one of the finer movies to release this year, Slumdog Millionaire has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in India. From political parties slamming it for its title to a slum dweller suing it’s makers and Amitabh Bachchan criticising it for showing the underbelly of the country, Slumdog Millionaire could have deserved better media attention in India. Fact is, it didn’t. Here’s the latest: Nakul Singh has sued the makers for wrongly crediting the bhajan Darshan do Ghanshyam to the blind poet Surdas. He claims his father Gopal Singh Nepali had written this for the film Narsi Bhagat.
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. 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 that Swades and Lagaan were not historicals.
If last year it was the Rajputs who were protesting, this year it was the turn of the barber community. The film in question was Billu – earlier called Billu Barber. Days before its release, the makers had to change the title and knock off ‘Barber’ from the title. But things didn’t end there. 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.
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 on Saturday 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.
Arguably the most controversial film in this entire list, Black Friday was based on the book by the same name. Written by senior Mumbai-based journalist S Hussain Zaidi, Black Friday narrated the events that preceded and followed the dreaded 1993 blasts in Mumbai. The movie was ready in 2004 but kept getting stuck as the court stayed its release. Finally in early 2007, the movie hit the screens after the accused had been charged under TADA. The movie was a hit and propelled director Anurag Kashyap into some much-deserved limelight.
Get the Friday off Black Friday and you still have a controversial film. For one, a antique furniture dealer sued director Sanjay Leela Bhansali alleging that he had purposely burnt the sets of Black to claim insurance. It was also alleged that the director has under-insured the movie sets in order to reduce his premium outgoings and has charged him. The dealer was reportedly not compensated either. The state-run Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation, which owns Mumbai Film City where the studio was located, had also slapped a Rs 60 million suit on Bhansali for causing damage. That was not all. A deaf and mute assistant also accused the director having skipped his payment for his services.
Arguably one of the most controversy-ridden movie in recent times, Devdas was probably jinxed from day one. Aishwarya Rai suffered from some food poisoning, then Salman Khan reportedly came drunk on the sets and created a ruckus, a storm fan caused a serious accident, killing one unit member and seriously injuring another. Along the way, Madhuri Dixit also reportedly issued ultimatums to Bhansali because the shoot date kept getting postponed.
There wasn’t anything in the film that stirred the controversy as much as what the lead actor said outside of it that undid it. Aamir Khan, always a man about town when his film releases, made himself seen along with those protesting against raising the heights of the Narmada dam in Gujarat. The film was banned in the state for quite some time till the court decided to intervene and provide protection to the theatres screening the film.
It was a film that pretty much brought the mighty Yash Raj films to its knees. The battle between multiplex owners and distributors reached a head with this particular film. The owners claimed that Yash Raj demanded more than a fair share of profit from the film. Not willing to give in to the Studio’s demands, all multiplexes refrained from showing the movie. As a result Tashan, one of the first big budget films of the year, ended up being a miserable flop. Funnily, it was Yash Raj, which started the whole anti multiplex owners trend with Fanaa.
Jo Bole So Nihal
This Sunny Deol-starrer was supposed to be a celebration of ‘Sikhdom’. Ironically, the movie managed to irk the very community it was cheering for. Members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee accused the film of showing “the Sikh community in a bad light.” Things turned really ugly when two high-intensity blasts rocked two cinema halls in the capital killing one and injuring about 53 others. The community also had issues with a Sikh character being chased by scantily clad women. Further the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee claimed that the film had grossly misused a terms that was spoken in Sikh temples and battlefields.
This was probably Deepa Mehta’s first brush with controversy before Water. Right-wing activists stormed two theatres in Mumbai and prompted the movie’s distributor to stop the showing of Fire. The film focussed on a lesbian relationship between two sister-in-laws. It was clearly a first in the Indian context where homosexuality to this day is discussed in hushed tones. The controversy also rocked the parliament with opposition members slamming the Hindu nationalists for “intolerance” and “hoodlum rule” in Mumbai. Interestingly Shabana Azmi one of the two leading actors in the film and an MP, was present in the house when the debate started. She silently watched it unfold without once making a comment.
A period piece set in Varanasi, Water was to complete Deepa Mehta’s trilogy – Fire and Earth being the first two. But the movie ran into controversy right from the first day of the shoot. Water dealt with the plight of Indian widows in the 1930s and was supposed to be shot in Uttar Pradesh. However the state government the film’s location permits as mobs stormed the ghats along the Ganges. The film’s sets were burnt as were effigies of the director. At some point Deepa Mehta gave up the idea of shooting in India and put together an entirely new cast. Seema Biswas replaced Shabana Azmi and Lisa Ray replaced Nandita Das. The film was shot and completed in Sri Lanka.
Ek Choti Si Love Story
Manisha Koirala who had created waves when Dil Se released found herself in a spot when a film called Ek Choti Si Love Story began to generate curiosity amongst the trade circuit. The story revolved around a body double she had allegedly approved of. Shashilal Nair, the director of the film claimed that Manisha had no problem with the scenes where the double was used. Manisha, of course, claimed otherwise. Things came to a head when the actress approached Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackery to intervene. Nair was ‘advised’ to delete the scenes but he insisted that the Sena chief should see the film first before suggesting any cuts.
New Delhi, Oct 21: Shah Rukh Khan has at last broken his mum. The Bollywood Badshah has come out with his version at last about the much-hyped tiff he had with co-actor Salman Khan.
The ‘fight’ occurred at Katrina Kaif’s birthday party, where an irate Salman Khan rubbed King Khan the wrong way, leading to an icy silence between them since. The incident divided the Mumbai film industry into two camps, with Shah Rukh and Salman supporters coming out to support their favourites.
It also put some actors in a fix, as taking the side of one spelled coldness to another. The cold war seems to have stretched longer, if Shah Rukh’s words are to be taken into account.
“It’s ok. There is not much common between us, we think differently, we speak differently. We have spent a good time together. But with time, that fact has got blurred,” Shah Rukh told a national daily.
When asked about any chance of their coming together anytime soon, he added, “We are happy in our worlds. If we come together it is good. If we don’t it’s even better. We are not friends, but it doesn’t imply we are enemies,” Khan said.
Before SRK’s statements, Salman had agreed about the coldness, too. He had said, “Yes there is a problem. But it is no big deal. Problems do occur in everybody’s lives. If after eighteen years of friendship something happens then it does not mean a lot.”
But SRK hit hard when he commented on the most eligible, but hotheaded bachelor of Bollywood, “I think like a father, while Salman thinks like a child!”
The silence has been broken, but not the ice. These words promise more division in Bollywood, and the ‘diplomatic ones’ (spell Aamir Khan) are going to have a hard time balancing their friendship.