Rajkumar Hirani, the underrated director and Aamir Khan, the under-celebrated actor, joined hands again in the year 2014 to gift us another masterpiece in the form of their recently released movie ‘PK’. The movie, that dealt with blind beliefs and slammed the concept of Godmen, as expected opened well and marched on its way to earn almost Rs 250 cr.
But wait! The Box Office collections are not what the story is about, especially when the movie did more business outside the theatres as compared to the inside. So one could see the ‘Hindu Organisations’ burning effigies, tearing posters and stopping the theatres from screening the movie; the attacking point being “WE ARE HINDUS”.
There are now debates going on about the content of the movie, whether it’s watchable for the common man or not. And hence, the hashtag ‘#PKdebate’ has been trending for more than two days now.
This has been happening since the advent of modern day cinema. And why going decades back; let’s go through the movies of 2014, which created controversy.
The controversies started with Rohit Shetty’s ‘Singham Returns’. The movie was accused of showing Hindus in a negative manner by a small Hindu organisation, Jan Jagruti Samiti. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was asked to delete some shots from the movie. The lead Ajay Devgn fought against corrupt ‘gurus’ in the movie.
Controversy surfaced around Shahid Kapoor-starrer Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Haider’ after a migrant Kashmiri Pandit alleged the movie to be hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus by showing the Sun Temple of Kashmir as “Devil’s Den” in the popular song ‘Bismil’. Naysayers also thought the movie showed separatists in a positive light, insulted the Indian Army and ignored the problems Kashmiri migrants including the pandits had to face. There were hashtags trending on Twitter for and against the movie.
Issues were created over the movie names too – Homi Adajania’s ‘Finding Fanny’ was earlier named ‘Finding Fanny Fernandez’. The Deepika Padukone, Arjun Kapoor starrer was later renamed and was granted the permission to use “I am a virgin” in one of the dialogues.
Not only this year, the controversies over the content have been the epicentre of the popularity of many movies. ‘Oh My God!’, from which the plot of ‘PK’ is accused to be stolen, ridiculed religion’s deities and attacked age-old rituals and beliefs. Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Vishwa Hindu Parishad were some of the many Hindu groups which seethed with anger over this and held protests.
An FIR was filed by an NGO in Indore against producers – Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and SRK and Gauri Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment in objection to the song ‘Radha’ in ‘Student Of The Year’ which the mythological character was described as ‘sexy’. BJP politician Sushma Swaraj and HJS also were part of the protest. The song, however, wasn’t excluded from the film.
In the song ‘Sadda Haq’ of ‘Rockstar’, the free Tibet flag in the backdrop triggered a dispute between Central Board of Film Certification. Director Imtiaz Ali had to remove the sequence from the video.
Muslim groups in Tamil Nadu demanded a ban on Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vishwaroopam’ and claimed, that the film would hurt Muslim sentiments. Although the film was cleared by CBFC, theatre owners in Tamil Nadu were asked not to screen it. The movie, however, was released in other states with greater Muslim populations than in Tamil Nadu.
Set against the backdrop of Sri Lankan civil war and assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (1991), John Abraham starrer ‘Madras Cafe’ was alleged of depicting the LTTE cadres in a negative manner by the Tamil activists. It was not released in Tamil Nadu due to security concerns. The protests had also forced major UK chains to stop screening the movie.
Citing dishonour to the Indian culture, these movies and many more, made solely on the aim of entertainment, invited the wrath of religious and political groups. Guess, since the film fraternity has the liberty to make movies, the naysayers have the ‘freedom’ to protest.
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