Free Press Journal

Fact or fiction: Bollywood’s tryst with manipulation


We’re a sensitive country; we get hurt pretty quick and the incredible ‘intolerant’ India has been hurt again. This time by Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati. Apparently, the director who was manhandled by the goons , calling themselves Karni Sena, had to give in writing that there will be no intimate scenes between the lead pair in the film. Period dramas and biopics have mostly borne public ire. Priyanka Vartak delves into few more films from Bollywood who have had a rough ride with the audiences in the past.


Bollywood’s latest blockbuster ‘Dangal’ though is a biographical tale of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, had its share of fiction. Various facts were altered to keep the audience hooked. Geeta Phogat’s coach was portrayed in grey light and no, Mahavir Singh was not locked in during her Common weath match!

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Raja Menon’s film Airlifet, starring Akshay Kumar, showed the return of more than 1.5 lakh Indian from Kuwait and Iraq. However, certain ministry officials criticised the film for showing that the Indian Embassy in Kuwait was evacuated soon after the entry of Iraqi troops while the local businessmen had to negotiate with the Iraqis to organize refugee camps.

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The descendants of Peshwa Bajirao I and Mastani have accused the makers for misinterpreting the historical characters. A descendant of queen Kashibai, claimed that she suffered from an arthritis-like ailment and was bed-ridden for most of her life. Hence it was highly impossible for her to dance with Mastani as she did on ‘Pinga’ in the film.

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A week before its release, the film found itself courting controversy. A petition was filed by six people against the film to have its original title Ram Leela changed as they felt that the movie could hurt the religious sentiments because it contained sex, violence and vulgarity. The title was changed 48 hours before the release.

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The Rajput community blocked the screening of this Ashutosh Gowaikar film in Rajasthan because the community contested that Jodha was married to Salim alias Jahangir, Akbar’s son while the film portrayed her as his wife. It was also pointed out that Jodha wasn’t daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber near Jaipur.

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It got into a cultural controversy when historian Dr Manmath Das disapproved the movie for misrepresenting the city of Kalinga. Oriya culture’s torchbearers even urged the government to ban the film. Meanwhile, Kaurwaki who was shown as daughter of Kalinga king, in reality was a daughter of a fisherman whom Ashok forcefully marries.