Politics, ugly spats dominate B-Town’s controversy calendar

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Bollywood is never far away from controversies and 2016 saw some major headline grabbers, be it the political arm-twisting of Karan Johar, censor board’s continuous meddling or Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut’s ugly public spat.

Bollywood
Little did Johar know that a cameo by Pakistani actor Fawad Khan will turn into such a major issue and almost derail his ambitious project “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena threatened to stall the film’s release to capitalise on anti-Pakistan sentiments in the wake of the Uri attack. Johar had to release a video, promising he will not cast any Pakistani actors in future.

A controversial negotiation was brokered between the producers and Raj Thackeray by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to allow the film to release with conditions that the producers will not cast Pakistani actors in future and will pay Rs 5 crore to the army fund. Army, however, declined to take the money.

Johar was in the middle of another controversy when Ajay Devgn, whose movie “Shivaay” was clashing at the box office with “Ae Dil…”, released a voice recording of self-proclaimed critic Kamaal R Khan on Twitter, where he claimed that he was allegedly bribed by Johar to praise the Ranbir Kapoor-Anushka Sharma-Aishwarya Rai starrer.

Devgn’s wife Kajol, who has starred in several of Johar’s films, also came out in support of her husband, raising doubts about the status of her friendship with the director.

Censor board has been in news since Pahlaj Nihalani took over as its chief, but things came to a boiling point with Abhishek Chaubey’s drug-themed drama “Udta Punjab”.

The certification body asked for multiple cuts, including one that suggested deleting the name ‘Punjab’ whenever it appeared in the film.

The producers were livid with the demands and decided to go public with their grievances. They took up the matter in court, which released the film with just one cut.

Nihalani did not help the matter by coming up with controversial statements alleging that the makers took money from Aam Aadmi Party, inviting Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to jump in.

Anurag Kashyap, one of the producers, however, avoided the political slug-fest by appealing the parties to stay away from their fight.

Kashyap likened the ban on his film to living like in North Korea, saying any person or party opposing it, was guilty of promoting drugs.

But no publicity is bad publicity in Bollywood and both the films managed to do well at the box office.

Bollywood was forced to take sides when Hrithik and Kangana decided to go public with their yet-unresolved fight, which started when the actress talked about one of her “silly exes” in an interview.

Hrithik did not like the comment and took to Twitter to clarify that he never dated the actress only to continue the spat by sending her a legal notice, demanding an apology.

(With inputs from PTI)

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