Although 'Khal Nayak' stands as one of filmmaker Subhash Ghai's most successful projects, it encountered criticism during its release.
'Khal Nayak', starring Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit Nene, found itself in a pool of controversy especially due to the former's arrest under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention Act) and the Arms Act months before the film's theatrical premiere in 1993. While he was released on bail a month later, his bail was cancelled in 1994 and he was arrested again. He was let out of jail in October 1995.
Notably, Sanjay Dutt played a wanted criminal in the film that left many to draw parallels between the real and the reel. The film also sparked controversy due to its popular 'Choli Ke Peeche' song. The track faced the wrath of a section of society over its allegedly "vulgar" lyrics.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Ghai recalled the release of 'Khal Nayak' amid several setbacks.
"(Sanjay's arrest) did not majorly impact the making of the film but yes there was a lot of noise in the media. I felt bad that he went to the jail. We had already finished the shooting part of the film when he got arrested... only the last court scene was in the making when all that happened," Ghai said.
"The main hardship we faced due to 'Choli Ke Peeche' song. People labelled it 'vulgar' ...protests happened. Around 32 political units came and protested against me. They demanded a ban... many even claimed that I was promoting a terrorist," he added.
Despite being surrounded by controversies, Ghai managed to stay strong and let his work speak for himself.
Sharing how he dealt with furore over 'Khal Nayak', he said, "I told the protestors to first watch the film and then decide. 'If after watching you feel that there's something wrong in it then please do remove my film,' I told them. I made the film with my honest intentions. This film talks about how...he becomes a nayak from a khalnayak. The story was about transformation of a villain, but you know that when there is 'josh', it stays for a long time within our country and by the time it goes, your life ends up being ruined."
'Khal Nayak' also starred Jackie Shroff. The film completed 30 years last year.