February 12, 2018
Often we have heard people saying “Every publicity is good publicity” and we have observed the filmmakers and the stars relentlessly engaging in promoting their films. These days, publicity and controversies are the major defining factors for the Bollywood movies as it increases the level of curiosity in the audience. With each passing day, the thin line between publicity and controversy is getting blurred but all is fair till the movie makes it big at the box office, isn’t it? “Every publicity is good publicity” holds true for the Bollywood movies which get the limelight for all the wrong reasons!
Let us have a look at some of the controversy-driven movies, shall we?
1. Padmaavat (Padmavati)
A 180 crore big-budget star-studded film by Sanjay Leela Bhansali recently got mired in endless controversies. This movie has seen it all! It got postponed by almost two months from its initial release date, several cuts by the CBFC, dropping an ‘I’ from the title , death threats from the Karni Sena to the lead actress , theatres being set on fire, witnessed outrage in several states, trending topic on all social media platforms and also the most talked about topic on all the major news channels. Despite being banned in multiple states and the audience even doubted the release of the movie; it managed to earn 203 crores in 11 days.
This movie also had some additional USPs like where the female actor got paid more than the male actors and is also it is Shahid Kapoor ‘s first movie that entered the 100 crore club in his 15 years of acting career.
2. Udta Punjab
Yet another movie that was in the limelight for all the bad reasons. It suffered 89 cuts suggested by the CBFC and also the removal of all references to Punjab. Though it had a positive message it did not strike a cord with the CBFC. After getting into the legal battles the movie managed to hit the screens. Many alleged allegations made rounds during the controversy.
Mr. Nihalani, Ex-Chairman, CBFC also managed to add a political touch to the chaos by allegedly stating that Aam Aadmi Party had given money to the makers of the film and soon after the statement, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal refuted the claims and a war of words started on social media. Made with a budget of 40 crores, the film earned 60 crores at the box office.
3. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
One of the many controversial films which were perceived to not have released was Karan Johar’s visually appealing star-studded movie- Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. It got into the political conspiracy because the movie featured Pakistani Actor Fawad Khan. It was in the wake of the Uri attacks and the subsequent IMPPA diktat of banning Pakistani artists from working in the country, the members of Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI) decided that no films starring any Pakistani actor would be released in theatres. The MNS also protested against retaining Fawad Khan’s scenes in the film. Finally, Karan Johar abided by the demands of MNS and pledged that he will never collaborate with any Pakistani artists in future. He even agreed to donate Rs 5 crore to the Indian Army Welfare Foundation, as demanded by CM Devendra Fadnavis.
It turned out to be a hit on box office and collected 237 crores worldwide.
4. Bajirao Mastani
Sanjay Leela Bhansali has become the king of controversies. His constant indulgence in historic periods engages him with the religious and political chaos. In this movie too the religious sentiments got hurt because of multiple reasons. The protesters had problems with the portrayal of Bajirao’s wives, Mastani and Kashibai, played by actresses Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, their costumes, dialogues and even some of the scenes. At times, people seem to forget that a movie is a work of fiction and should be taken as an art.
During the conspiracy, the descendants of Mastani were not convinced with the actors chosen to play their ancestors. Made with an extravagant budget of 1.45 billion, the movie managed to gross 3.56 billion at the box office.
Pankaj Kapoor’s directorial debut starring his son Shahid Kapoor also faced legal battles. However, this controversy arose due to the alleged plagiarism and not because of any religious or political provocation. Pankaj’s old friend and former colleague Nawman Malik claimed that the title ‘Mausam’ was registered under his name and filed a complaint with the Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers. To add to the situation, Malik also claimed that the story of ‘Mausam’ was also his story. He had demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore for the title and had even submitted a digital film called ‘Mausam’, which he claimed to have made.
Post its delayed release, Mausam added to the list of Shahid Kapoor’s biggest flops as it only collected 32 crores at the box office. The movie was made with a budget of 49 crores.
Now that the statistics are here, do you think “Every publicity is good publicity”?