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When filmmaking met fanaticism- Cinema express

When filmmaking met fanaticism

With Padmaavat finally seeing the light of the day, we take a look at other films that ran into trouble when people got worried that reputations could be tarnished

Published: 24th January 2018

With Padmaavat finally seeing the light of the day after much controversy surrounding its content, we take a look at other films that ran into trouble when people got worried that reputations could be tarnished:

Padmaavat (2018)
This film on the Rajput queen got into controvery even before work commenced. Groups vandalised the sets claiming that the film is replete with factual inaccuracies and alleged that the motive was to defame the queen. The team received threats and even State governments banned the film.

Bajirao Mastani (2015)
Padmaavat isn’t Deepika and Ranveer’s first film to run into trouble. Their 2015 epic drama, Bajirao Mastani, landed in trouble too, when the descendants of Peshwa Bajirao and Mastani accused the makers of distorting historical facts. Mastani’s descendants were also not happy with the choice of actors chosen to portray their ancestors. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who incidentally has also directed Padmaavat, had his effigy burnt by protestors.

Inam (2013)
Although passed by the censor board, this Santosh Sivan film ran into huge controversy just after its release -- so much so that it had to be pulled by producer Lingusamy, who expressed anguish over the bitterness caused by the film and said his decision to distribute Inam  was driven by his desire to be involved with good cinema.

Jodhaa Akbar (2008)
The magnum opus directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, drew sharp criticism for its historical inaccuracy from a section of Rajputs who asserted that Jodhaa was married to Akbar’s son and not to Akbar himself as was shown in the film. The film was then banned in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Even though the ban was lifted by the Supreme Court, the film was not screened in Rajasthan after theatre owners received letters written in blood from Karni Sena.

Mangal Pandey (2005)
Accusing the film of falsehood and indulging in character assassination, at least two parties asked for a ban citing inaccurate portrayal of the freedom fighter. Protests also erupted in Ballia district, the birthplace of Pandey.

Asoka (2001)
Derided by historians and teachers for misrepresenting the city of Kalinga and the culture of Orissa, many politicians including a former Speaker took up arms against the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer and did not want it to be screened in their state.

Hey Ram (2000)
Kamal Haasan is not new to controversies and it should come as no surprise that Hey Ram faced backlash when people assumed the film was anti-Gandhian and protests erupted even in Kolkata. The actor clarified that the supporters of his film included the Mahatma’s grandson and other living relatives before the protests died down.

Iruvar (1997)
Famously, the opening note of this film was, “Idhu unmai kadhai alla (This is not a true story).” Unfortunately, the disclaimer did not stop both the ruling and the opposition parties from coming together to protest the release of the fictionalised-yet-strikingly-similar story of the two doyens of Tamil Nadu politics, MGR and Karunanidhi. Mani Ratnam in fact even arranged for a special screening for the-then chief minister M Karunanidhi.

Bandit Queen (1994)
When the CJI demanded that Padmaavat be released, one of his arguments was, “If Bandit Queen  can be released, why not Padmaavat?” So infamous was the controversial film by Shekhar Kapur about the dacoit-turned-politician who survived rape. The film was originally banned for explicit sexual content and abusive language.

Kissa Kursi Ka (1977)
Sent back by the Censor Board with 51 objections, this film produced by a politician was banned when Emergency was declared. The reason? The film was a spoof on Sanjay Gandhi and his auto-manufacturing plans and the close coterie surrounding the-then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Even though the producer stated the characters were imaginary, Emergency had set in and the prints, including the master print, were confiscated and burned. Post Emergency, Sanjay Gandhi was tried, found guilty and sentenced to jail.

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