They say controversy sells. For long media has been blamed for using controversy as a tool or a weapon rather in the battle of TRP’s, but this year films joined the bandwagon with controversies rocking tinseltown. From protests, bans, misogyny, sexism to scandals, the industries have seen it all. Shocked by the chaos around Padmavati? Here are precedents from down south, in no particular order.
Sathyaraj’s 9-year-old video and Baahubali 2
In the run-up to Baahubali 2: The Conclusion’s release, a nine-year-old video of Sathyaraj resurfaced on the internet. His remarks on the Cauvery issue between the two states in the video offended a few political outfits in Karnataka who protested against the release of the film in Karnataka. The chaos ensued even after the actor apologised to ensure the film gets a release. Later, it did release and prove to be one of the most successful films in Indian cinema.
This Vijay-Atlee starrer had, not just one, but several controversies surrounding the movie before and after release. Even before its release, the film faced roadblocks getting it released on Diwali due to issues with censor certificate and a TFPC strike due to increased taxes. After it released amid much fan fare, the film ran straight into controversy for criticising GST. Political parties sought for the ban of the film and TV channels had prime time debates about the film. However later the courts intervened and dismissed the petition for a ban. A few theaters in Bangalore also were vandalised as due to clashes between fans and pro-Kannada groups.
Dileep and Ramleela’s release
In one of the most shocking incidents, Mollywood star Dileep was arrested for allegedly being involved in the abduction and molestation of a popular actress. The actor was in jail for around 2 months, before he was given bail. The actor’s arrest lead to several issues for his film Ramleela, which released while the actor was in jail. Several outfits called for the boycott of the film and there was a moral conundrum. However, the movie turned out to be a blockbuster, running to packed screens in the state.
Probably the most nefarious controversy of the year, the hornet’s nest was kicked when a series of private pictures of several celebrities were posted on the handle of RJ-Singer Suchitra. While the singer claimed that her account was hacked, tweets kept coming. There were multiple stories doing the rounds, one being her account wasn’t being handled by her and the second, according to a statement given by her husband Karthik Kumar, that she wasn’t well. However, the incident took the industry by storm with several fake accounts created to propagate the claims.
A journalist trolled for comments against a Vijay film
Dhanya Rajendran, a noted journalist, tweeted against Vijay’s film Sura and was subsequently the target of an organised, massive troll campaign. The abuse continued for days on Twitter before she had to go to the cops to find a solution. The issue also led to Vijay issuing a statement that no woman should be spoken to in a demeaning way, marking an end to the issue.
Angamaly Diaries fame Anna Rajan was another target of trolls this year by a star’s fans. The actor was trolled by Mammootty fans after she said on a light note that given a choice between Mammootty and Dulquer Salmaan. Reduced to tears by the backlash, Anna apologised to Mammootty and Dulquer fans through a video on Facebook.
A year for trolling, actor Parvathy was yet another victim of abusive online trolls. The outspoken actor who took a stand against misogyny in Mammootty’s film Kasaba received a backlash of hate on social media. The producer of Kasaba had also posted a Facebook status saying “If Geetu (Mohandoss) aunty and Parvathy aunty tell me the dates of their birthday, I will show Kasaba in full house as my birthday gift.” However, the actor has maintained her stand saying that while she never said anything disrespectful about the artists, misogyny in cinema should not be celebrated.
Sai Dhanshika and Amala Paul
In two separate instances, two women actors were shamed on stage, both leading to a wide of public outrage at the prevalent insensitivity. The first was Saai Dhanshika who was reduced to tears on stage at the Vizhithiru press meet by T.Rajendran, as the former forgot to mention the latter on stage. While the issue escalated out of hand, the actors on stage later apologised for not backing Dhanshika then.
The second case was when Editor Lenin insulted Amala Paul on stage at a meeting. Referring to an interview given Amala for Thiruttu Payale, the national award technician made some derogatory remarks about women actors, twisting Amala’s words out of context.
Simbu and Michael Rayappan
The producer of Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan Michael Rayappan went to the producers’ council alleging that Simbu did not shoot for the film properly causing huge losses. Claiming that the actor did not shoot for the agreed amount of days, the producer had said that he was pushed to the streets due to the financial repercussions. There were also reports that Simbu was given a red notice that prevented him from acting in other movies. Simbu, on the other hand, apologised if there was a mistake on his part but also said that as far as he knew, he would still begin shooting with Mani Rathnam for his next movie in January.
Women are only fit for sex: Chalapathi Rao
During the press meet of Naga Chaitanya-Rakul Preet’s Rarandoi Veduka Chudham, actor Chalapathi Rao said “Women are only fit to have sex.” The actor’s comment was in reference when the host asked to talk about women in the context of a dialogue that comes in the film’s trailer. The film’s producer Nagarjuna later issued an apology and also stated that he doesn’t identify with the actor’s comments.