Now that Padmaavat has finally release and seems to be have wading through all the controversies and violent protests, having even triumphed them to an extent, let’s take a look back at other movies in the past that had to face similarly irrational and undemocratic curbs on freedom of expression, where a handful of people tried hard to snatch the choice of what to see in cinema halls from the public at large.
1.) Ae Dil hai Mushkil
Image Source: Dharma
The casting of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan drove the political party, MNS, bonkers in Maharashtra, and the film was only allowed to release after Karan Johar edited out most of his portions from the film and donated money to the Indian Army Welfare Fund (nothing wrong with that, provided people aren’t arm-twisted into doing it).
Image Source: Red Chillies
IN one-of-the-most ridiculous protests ever (not that others merit any validation, but this one just takes the cake), Mumbai’s barbers protested to the use of their profession as part of this innocuous film’s title, and, Shah Rukh Khan, instead of wasting his precious time reasoning with them over such a trivial matter, thought it better to simply omit the word from the moniker of his movie.
3.) Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela
Image Source: SLB
Padmaavat wasn’t the first SLB film to court needless controversy. Religious groups had a problem with Ram-Leela being the initial title of this Ranveer-Deepika starrer since it was an interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Lord Ram’s name was in the title, which prompted the eventual triple prefix to the title.
4.) Bajirao Mastani
Image Source: SLB
The next SLB film to face hurdles was his next release, particularly for the scene where Deepika and Priyanka were shown shaking a leg together, as it irked the descendants of the real-life Peshwa Bajirao. However, this time the filmmakers won the battle, and no changes were enforced on the film.
5.) Black Friday
Image Source: Adlabs
This Anurag kashyap film was ready for release in 2004, but was withheld for three years because the CBFC thought it would be unwise to release it till the court verdict of the 1993 Bombay blasts were announced. Honestly, whom were they afraid of offending before the actual verdict – the terrorists who orchestrated the tragic explosions?
6.) Jodhaa Akbar
Image Source: AGPL
Before Padmaavat, the Karni Sena had targeted this Ashutosh Gowariker historical epic for allegedly outraging the honor of Rajput women and distorting facts (somebody really needs to provide them a history lesson). However, it was a different government in power at the time, and their cries fell on deaf ears.
7.) Indu Sarkar
Image Source: Bhandarkar Entertainment
That different government we spoke about earlier, is also much to blame for the same insidiously unconstitutional misdeeds, one of which befell this Madhur Bhandarkar film, when Congress party workers threatened to stall its release because it was based on the infamous ‘Emergency’, period presided by Indira Gandhi and her son, Sanjay Gandhi. The film was only release after being mercilessly chopped.
Image Source: Mehbbob Studio
The same Congress party had outright banned this Gulzar classic because of its alleged resemblance to the relationship between Indira Gandhi and her estranged husband. It was stuck for two years, again during the infamous ‘Emergency’ of Indira’s governance, and finally saw the light of day when she lost the elections in 1977.