Bollywood has seen an interesting line-up of movies this year, the arrival of bundles of joy and cupid flying all over. However, 2016 has also been filled with controversies.
Headline makers and relationship breakers, love and loss, censor cuts and cross-border bans, here’s what made controversy this year.
Udta Punjab vs Censor Board
While Abhishek Chaubey’s directorial was one of the most critically acclaimed Hindi movies of 2016, it was also the film with the highest number of recommended cuts. The Censor Board was attacked for ordering 89 cuts to the film, including deleting all references to Punjab.
Almost the entire industry, including top directors stood in support of co-producer, Anurag Kashyap, who along with his team fought Nihalani in the court of law and finally won the battle with the Bombay High Court ordering the CBFC to clear the film with an A-certificate and just one cut. It went on to win Alia Bhatt accolades galore for a no holds barred performance.
Pakistani actor ban
The Uri attack led to worsened Indo-Pak tension while Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, on ‘patriotic grounds’, spearheaded the demand for a ban on all films featuring Pak talent, including Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, and two Shah Rukh Khan starrers; Dear Zindagi and Raees. The Maharashtra Nirman Sena (MNS)supremo made it clear to Bollywood that Pakistani actors are not welcome in India anymore.
As things started getting worse for Karan, he posted a video to prove his patriotism and requested to allow his movie to be screened. Finally, Thackeray relented after CM Devendra Fadnavis brokered peace between the warring parties.
Hate Story 4: Hrithik-Kangana fallout
In an extraordinary case of public washing of dirty linen, Hrithik and Kangana conducted a bitter feud for nearly the entire year, over a disputed romantic relationship, she says they dated, he denied it. It started at the beginning of 2016 when Kangana appeared to refer to Hrithik as a ‘silly ex’ in an interview. He sent her a legal notice demanding her apology, she sent him one back.
In a separate letter to the Mumbai police, she accused him of ‘slut-shaming’ her by circulating private emails and photos. Hrithik, in a related case, filed a police complaint about an ‘imposter’, who, he claimed, corresponded with Kangana, pretending to be him. She claimed it was really him all along. The investigation remains unresolved.
Rapped for ‘rape’ remark
A careless remark by Salman Khan during the promotions of ‘Sultan’, he said that he often felt “like a raped woman” after training hard for the wrestling drama, created a furor overnight. The actor realized that he had crossed the line as soon as he uttered the ‘r’ word, but the damage was already done.
While various women’s organizations bayed for his blood and demanded an unconditional apology, a rape victim from Haryana filed a Rs 10-crore lawsuit against Sallu for his insensitive comment. Finally, it took daddy Salim Khan’s intervention to cool things down.
Rajesh Khanna, a ‘poor actor’, said Naseeruddin Shah
Senior star Naseeruddin Shah found himself pilloried for describing the late Rajesh Khanna as a “poor actor” and blaming him for bringing “mediocrity” to the film industry. Mr Khanna’s daughter Twinkle, a former actress herself, tweeted furiously, “Sir if you can’t respect the living, respect the dead- mediocrity is attacking a man who can’t respond.” She also tweeted: “All due regard to Mr Shah’s reality. Mine = a man who loved cinema and did films like Anand, Amar prem etc.”
Soon after Rajesh Khanna’s legion of fans took on Naseer for his adverse comments on India’s original superstar. In an apparent reference to Naseer, Salium Khan said, “Frustration and bitterness are difficult to cure but carrying the same for such a long time is unheard of.” Naaseer later apologized and the Khannas let the matter rest in peace.
‘Roast’ on Comedy Nights Bachao
Krushna Abhishek’s ‘Roast’ on Comedy Nights Bachao managed to offend several A-listers, including Akshay Kumar, who wasn’t amused when his Housefull 3 co-star Lisa Haydon was called a ‘Kangaroo’ and a ‘black African’, Tannishtha Chatterjee walked out over constant digs at her skin tone, and John Abraham was less than tickled funny when ridiculed for his acting skills and past flops. With few willing to bail it out, the show is heading for a curtain call in February.
Tanmay Bhat mocked Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar
AIB comedian Tanmay Bhat enraged the world at large and social media in particular by Snapchatting a video, in which, he imagined an expletive-laden conversation between Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar on the merits of Virat Kohli as a batsman.
The video had the revered singer and the master blaster – both enacted by Tanmay — using Snapchat’s face-swap feature, “arguing” about who is the better player, Sachin or Virat Kohli. It was posted with this disclaimer by Tanmay: “I make such nonsense on my Snapchat.”
Actors were divided in opinion, with Om Puri asking how Tanmay was still ‘walking free’ and Sonam Kapoor declaring herself astonished by the ‘overreaction.’ The Mumbai police consulted legal experts and also contacted Google and YouTube on blocking the video. Police complaints were filed against Tanmay by Maharashtra’s ruling BJP and also Raj Thackerey’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Within three days, the video was widely shared and had triggered far more outrage.
Big B faces flak over National Anthem
You have never thought that Big B might be in our list, but he is. He came in the controversy list when he sang the National Anthem at the World Cup T20 finals in Kolkata. Some reports claimed that Amitabh Bachchan had been paid a fat cheque for his ‘performance’. Critics became silent only when Sourav Ganguly clarified that the actor had not only rendered the National Anthem for free, but also paid from his own pocket for travel and accommodation.
In addition with, a complaint was filed against Bachchan in Delhi for singing the National Anthem incorrectly. The complainant alleged that his rendition was 1 minute 22 seconds long as against the original length of 54 seconds.
Kamal R Khan controversies
Vikram Bhatt sent a criminal defamation notice on Youtube and Twitter to Kamal R Khan for disseminating fabricated and derogatory information about him. KRK has also made personal attack on the filmmaker and his leading lady Meera Chopra while reviewing his ‘1920 London’. The notice translated into a social media war between the two with KRK finally apologizing.
In another controversy, Ajay Devgan released a taped conversation between KRK and Ajay’s business manager Kumar Mangat. In the audio, KRK is heard making claims about having received Rs 25 lakh from Karan Johar to tweet positive things about ‘Ae Dil Hai Muskil’, while putting down Ajay’s Shivaay. An enraged Ajay demanded investigation, while Karan refused to comment making it clear that it was beneath his dignity to respond. KRK retailed by saying that he hadn’t taken any money and used Karan’s name only as an excuse.
Priyanka Chopra wore an insensitive T-shirt
Bold and fearless, @priyankachopra makes a statement on our 6th anniversary issue cover. #PCinCNT #WhyWeTravel pic.twitter.com/phtSE1ihVw
— Condé Nast Traveller (@CNTIndia) October 7, 2016
The only black mark in Priyanka’s otherwise stellar year was the Conde Nast Traveller cover, where she appeared wearing a T-shirt that had the words ‘refugee,’ ‘immigrant’ and ‘outsider’ crossed out, declaring her a ‘traveller.’ The T-shirt was widely slammed as being insensitive with people pointing out that being refugee was not a choice, unlike traveling.
The actress issued an apology by saying, “I am really, really apologetic about the fact that sentiments were hurt. The point the magazine wanted to make was actually something good.”