Movies that have courted controversy recently

Nayanthara’s movie Annapoorani recently courted controversy. The movie was pulled off the OTT platform Netflix. The movie got into trouble with right-wing Hindu groups, as the film showed a woman from a Brahmin family cooking and eating meat. The character portrayed by Nayanthara is also shown wearing a burkha and offering namaz before cooking biriyani. The actor, last night, issued an apology for ‘inadvertently’ causing hurt. Directed by Nilesh Krishnaa, the movie was released in theatres in December 2023. Complainants, who launched an FIR against the filmmakers and the actor also claimed that the movie promotes love jihad. Here are movies that courted controversy in recent years.

Adipurush: This modern-day adaptation of Ramayana, starring Prabhas was bashed by Hindu groups for its portrayal of Janaki or Sita and Raghav or Ram. The movie also didn’t sit well due to the dialogues in the film. It has Lord Hanuman mouthing lines like Kapda tere baap ka, tel tere baap ka! Jalegi bhi teri baap ki” and “Jo humaari beheno ko haath lagaega, unki lanka laga denge”. The movie was also banned from two cities in Nepal– Khatmandu and Pokhra. The authorities were reportedly miffed by the dialogue in the film, “Janaki is a daughter of India.” Sita is believed to be born in Janakpur, Southeast Nepal. 

Lipstick Under My Burkha: The 2017 movie, which starred Konkona Sen Sharma and Ratna Pathak Shah, was banned by the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) helmed by Pankaj Nihlani. “The story is lady-oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contentious sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused under guidelines,” were cited as reasons behind the ban. Director of the film, Alankrita Shrivastava, in an interview, said, “I believe the decision to refuse certification to our film is an assault on women’s rights.” “A film like Lipstick Under My Burkha, which challenges that dominant narrative is being attacked because it presents a female point of view. Do women not have the right of freedom of expression?” she added. 

OMG2: This 2023 film starring Pankaj Tripathi and Akshay Kumar, did not rile up controversy per se. But, the CBFC awarded it an A certificate after ordering 27 cuts. Actor Akshay Kumar, who plays the messenger of Lord Shiva in the movie, reacting to the certification said, “I don’t want to fight. I have no idea about the rules. I didn’t get into the rulebook. If they thought it was an adult film, then… did you all feel it was an adult film? Whoever we have shown the film to, they loved it. I made it for youngsters and I’m happy it is coming on Netflix and I’m happy about it.” the movie tackled the topic of sex education in schools.

Padmaavat: The movie based on the lives of Rani Padmavati and  Maharawal Ratan Singh, got caught up in controversy as a fringe group from Rajasthan, Karni Sena, said they weren’t happy with the portrayal of their queen in the film. Heena Singh Judeo, daughter-in-law of Dilip Singh Judeo of Chhattisgarh’s former royal family objected to Deepika Padukone dancing in the film and said that Rajput maharanis have never danced in front of anyone.

Pathaan: This movie starring Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan raked up controversy as actor Deepika Padukone wore a saffron bikini in one of the songs from the film. The title of the song was Besharam rang, which translates to shameless colour in Hindi. There were calls to remove the song entirely; angry protesters have torn up posters and burnt effigies of Khan. 

Kerala Story: Kerala Story, the movie directed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, kicked up some storm in its wake. Following the release of the film’s trailer, a petition was filed at the Supreme Court seeking a stay on its release stating the movie relayed “worst kind of hate speech” and “audio-visual propaganda”. The SC refused to entertain the request. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan slammed the film and called it “propaganda” by “the Sangh parivar”. The teaser later changed the tagline from “heartbreaking and gut-wrenching stories of 32,000 females in Kerala…” to “true stories of three young girls from Kerala.”