CE Year in Review 2022: Top controversies of Hindi cinema

From boycott trends to objectionable bikinis, here are the top controversies that kept Hindi cinema buzzing in 2022...
CE Year in Review 2022: Top controversies of Hindi cinema

What a strange year whizzed by. 2022 saw Hindi cinema—or Bollywood as we still lovingly call it—suffer a complete washout at the hands of its southern counterparts. With movies too dull to discuss, public attention turned elsewhere. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone caused a stir with their sartorial choices (or its lack thereof). Aamir Khan, sporting a long beard and Mickey Mouse expressions in Laal Singh Chaddha, was heavily boycotted. Boycotting, in fact, became a national hobby on social media. There was #BoycottBrahmastra and #BoycottVikramVedha and #BoycottPathaan and #BoycottCommonSense. In between all that, a film festival jury head with a difficult-to-spell name was loudly dismissed after he publicly criticized a touchy blockbuster.

Here are the top controversies of Hindi cinema in 2022 –

Ranveer Singh’s nude-ish photoshoot

Back in July, actor Ranveer Singh bared his bu** for an American magazine. Specifically, he lay splayed on a rug without clothes recalling Burt Reynolds’ infamous Cosmopolitan shoot. When the images were posted on Ranveer’s social media, they went viral. An FIR was registered against the actor for obscenity and ‘hurting the sentiments of women’. “We can see his bum,” argued the complainant, famously and funnily, on primetime. Ranveer later told the cops that one of the photos on based which the complaint was filed was morphed.

Jacqueline Fernandez named in money laundering case

Jacqueline Fernandez—who starred in films like Attack, Ram Setu and Cirkus this year—was named as an accused by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case against conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar. Jacqueline, allegedly, had accepted expensive gifts from Sukesh, who is said to have bought them with money from his multi-crore cons. The Sri Lankan-origin actor was granted interim bail by a Delhi Court in September. However, Nora Fatehi, who was also questioned in the case, filed a defamation suit against Jacqueline.

Laal Singh Chaddha boycott

A 2015 statement by Aamir Khan on growing intolerance in India was cited among the reasons to boycott his 2022 release, Laal Singh Chaddha. The actor was accused of being ‘anti-national’ and ‘hinduphobic’ on social media. “I feel sad that some people who are saying this, in their heart, they believe that I am someone who doesn’t like India. In their hearts they believe, but it is untrue,” Aamir explained in a pre-release interaction, to little avail. Laal Singh, a remake of Forrest Gump, opened to disappointing figures that many attributed to the vociferous boycott campaign. Trade analysts, however, took a different view of the matter. “These boycott trends can only affect the business about two to five percent,” Komal Nahta told Cinema Express. “The real problem is that the stories have lost connection with the people.”

Brahmastra boycott

With characters literally named ‘Shiva’ and ‘Isha', Ayan Mukherji’s big-budget fantasy adventure drew on the vast pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses. The film was pegged as a celebration of ancient Indian culture, the way superhero films in the west nod to Greek and Norse mythos. However, when the trailer dropped, a shot of Ranbir Kapoor seemingly entering a temple with shoes on drew backlash on social media. It didn’t matter in the long run — Brahmastra witnessed a smooth release and became the highest grossing Hindi film of 2022.

IFFI controversy

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who was invited to head the international jury at the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), called Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files a ‘vulgar, propaganda movie’ while delivering his closing ceremony speech. His comments caused a diplomatic imbroglio; India and Israel share close relations. Supporters of The Kashmir Files — which depicts the exodus and killings of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s, and is one of the biggest hits of 2022 — slammed Nadav as a ‘genocide denier’. The Israeli envoy to India hit back, so did Agnihotri and actor Anupam Kher. Nadav, in later interviews, explained his position, saying he was commenting on the artistic merit of the film and not the actual tragedy of Kashmir Pandits. He was backed in an online statement by the other foreign jurors of IFFI.

Besharam Rang row

On December 12, the first song from Shah Rukh Khan’s comeback film after five years dropped. A sweltering beach number, Besharam Rang features SRK and Deepika Padukone exchanging glances and curling up in each other’s arms. The heat soon turned political as BJP leaders objected to the colour of one of Deepika’s outfits. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra issued an ultimatum to the makers to make the necessary changes. This was accompanied by protests by right-wing groups in other states. SRK and Amitabh Bachchan, while inaugurating the Kolkata International Film Festival, made statements that appeared to address the current culture of censorship and online hate.

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