When a member of Rajput Karni Sena slapped Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Jaipur, the slap resonated across Bollywood.
The Bollywood director behind superhits like Bajirao Mastani, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Ram Leela-Goliyon Ki Raasleela, was surrounded by a violent mob, screaming slogans of “Karni Sena”, while he was shooting Padmavati in Jaipur.
While his team was trying to protect SLB, a blow landed on the cowering, unarmed, filmmaker. The violence was unwarranted and unprovoked -- the purported reason was that Bhansali is “distorting history” in Padmavati, which stars Deepika Padukone as the namesake Rajput queen.
Karni Sena then issued an ultimatum, claiming that the protests will continue if the film’s name is not changed and any intimate scenes between Ranveer and Deepika chopped out.
But Padmavati is not the only film which has faced the wrath of protesters or found itself in a controversy which threatened its release. Here are the others who suffered:
AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL:
Image Source: media
In the wake of the Uri terror attack, MNS demanded a ban on Pakistani artistes. The proposal directly affected films which already had Pakistani actors on board. The first in the line of fire was Karan Johar whose film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil had Fawad Khan in a cameo. However, after much to and fro and a meeting with MNS chief Raj Thackeray, the film was allowed to release hassle free.
Before the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani in 2015, Prasadrao Peshwa, a descendant of Bajirao Peshwa I, said that the historical facts have been ‘altered’ in the depiction of Peshwa and his wives in Bajirao Mastani. In a letter written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Prasadrao demanded that the government should review the film, investigate the matter and take a decision accordingly.
GOLIYON KI RAASLEELA RAM-LEELA:
In 2013, before the release of Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, Jalandhar Police had booked Bhansali, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone on the basis of a complaint filed by one Lalit Kumar. The FIR was registered under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code. The complainant had alleged that the contents of the movie Ram Leela, are highly objectionable and offends the religious sentiments of the public believing in Hindu mythology. Delhi court had stayed the release after considering the plea of six petitioners including a Hindu group, Prabhu Samaj Dharmik Ram Leela Committee, which claimed that the film hurts religious sentiments by showcasing sex, violence and vulgarity.
A migrant Kashmiri Pandit alleged the movie was hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus by showing the Sun Temple of Kashmir as “Devil’s Den” in the popular song Bismil. Some also thought the 2015 release starring Shahid Kapoor and Tabu showed separatists in a positive light, insulted the Indian Army and ignored the problems Kashmiri migrants including the pandits had to face.
Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Vishwa Hindu Parishad were some of the many Hindu groups which seethed with anger over this and held protests around the country, demanding a ban on the release of the 2014 superhit starring Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma.
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Tamil activists claimed that John Abraham’s 2013 release Madras Cafe, set against the backdrop of Sri Lankan civil war and assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (1991), depicted the LTTE cadres in a negative manner. The protests turned violent and the film was not released in Tamil Nadu due to security concerns. The protests had also forced major UK chains to stop screening the movie.
MY NAME IS KHAN:
This time, it was not the film but a comment made by Shah Rukh Khan, saying that he would want Pakistani players to participate in the IPL, which sparked protests. Shah Rukh’s opinion did not go well with the 'sentiments' of Shiv Sena, who threatened to stall the release of this movie. There were consequent protests and demonstrations against him and demands that cinemas in India refuse to screen My Name Is Khan. Khan responded by stating, "What did I say that was wrong? All I said was that I wanted people to come to my country. I have no idea what I am supposed to apologise for. If I am in wrong I would like to apologise but someone needs to explain to me what is wrong. I do not want any confrontation. I am trying to explain myself on every platform. I have not said anything that is anti-national."
Imtiaz Ali shot the super hit number Sadda Haq from his 2011 film Rockstar at the Norbulingka monastery in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala. The video showed people waving the free Tibet flag in the backdrop and this triggered a dispute between the Central Board of Film Certification and Imtiaz Ali when the Board asked Ali to blur the flag before the film hit theatres. But the director refused to do it. Imtiaz Ali said, "I am not concerned at all. The purpose of the movie is not to make any social message, its more about personal freedom rather than a geographical issue." However, he had to remove the sequence from the video to get the censor’s certificate.
Civic authorities in Bhopal bulldozed the sets of Aarakshan because it was erected on disputed land. Some pro-Dalit groups in Kanpur protested Saif Ali Khan being cast in the role of a Dalit. They objected to the actor's royal background and saw his role of a so-called Dalit as an insult to the community.
The film was banned in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh before its theatrical release in 2011. The ban was later lifted after Prakash Jha approached Supreme Court. Apart from the aforementioned announced bans, there was an unexpected mid screening ban on the film in the multiplexes of Gurgaon, on the night of its release.
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Certain sections of the Rajput community in Rajasthan raised an objection to Ashutosh Gowariker's 2008 magnum opus Jodhaa Akbar. They claimed that, Jodhaa was not Akbar's wife and the drama was thus spreading lies. Later, Karni Sena, threatened to prevent the film from being released in Rajasthan and protesters in Jaipur burned posters and shouted slogans against the filmmaker.
Thumbnail Image Source: Manav Manglani/Images/filmsofindia/impawards/movies