Our nation is invariably ruled by our Bollywood celebs - they top the charts and rake in the moolah and inadvertently influence our opinions. Even when these celebrities have no films in sight, there are umpteen numbers of controversies that keep them in the headlines, no matter what!
2019 is nearing its end but the year was marked for several controversies that kept our Bollywood idols in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Here’s a quick recap of the biggest controversies that rocked the film industry and made front-page headlines:
Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on Karan Johar’s Koffee With Karan
Karan Johar’s popular chat show Koffee With Karan deviated from its usual starry guests this time around and brought in cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on the famous couch. However, the episode which was supposed to show an unseen side of cricketers turned out to be way too controversial and unappetizing for the makers as well as the viewers respectively. Hardik made several sexist remarks about women and even boasted about his sexual escapades on the show that did not go down well with the audience or the BCCI.
During the show, Hardik bragged about his relationship with several women and also his family’s attitude towards it and said, “I like to watch and observe how they (women) move. I’m little from the black side so I need to see how they move.” His comment on the show got Karan as well as Rahul in a soup. Hardik and Rahul were fined Rs 20 lakh each by BCCI Ombudsman for sexist comments and were even suspended and sent back from Australia tour. The cricketers received a lot of flak on social media and captain Virat Kohli in fact issued a statement saying that the Indian cricket team does not support their opinions. Facing immense backlash, Hotstar -the video streaming website -that aired the program, pulled off the episode while BCCI issued show-cause notices to Hardik and Rahul in lieu of their derogatory and sexist comments on women.
Boney Kapoor on Sridevi Bungalow
Late veteran actor Sridevi’s producer husband Boney Kapoor slammed a legal notice on the makers of the film Sridevi Bungalow for publicizing her untimely demise and making a mockery of her death. In the film Sridevi Bungalow, Priya Prakash Varrier plays the role of a lonely actress who drowns in a bathtub which is seen in the teaser of the film. The scene is highly suggestive and reminiscent of how Sridevi’s death occurred and hence Kapoor took a legal way against the film.
Vivek Oberoi-Aiswarya Rai-Salman Khan-Abhishek Bachchan Meme controversy
Vivek Oberoi landed himself in another unnecessary controversy in 2019. The actor who is well known to suffer from foot-in-the-mouth disease once again was at the receiving end of backlash and criticisms from the netizens for posting an unsavoury meme featuring himself, his ex-girlfriend Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Salman Khan (Aishwarya’s former boyfriend before Vivek) and Abhishek Bachchan. He retweeted a meme that was shared on Twitter ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 results. He had written, “Haha! creative! No politics here....just life Credits : @pavansingh1985.” The meme had Salman's picture with Aishwarya as the Opinion Poll’, his picture with Aishwarya as ‘Exit poll’ and Abhishek's, Aaradhya's and Aishwarya's picture as ‘Result’.
His tweet garnered ire from the NCW as well as actresses like Sonam Kapoor and Urmila Matondkar. Vivek being a gentleman deleted the tweet within hours and also issued an apology for the same but was still ridiculed and faced an unnecessary controversy over it. He tendered an apology and wrote, “Sometimes what appears to be funny and harmless at first glance to one, may not be so to others. I have spent the last 10 years empowering more than 2000 underprivileged girls, I can't even think of being disrespectful to any woman ever."
Sona Mohapatra on Anu Malik sexual harassment row (May to Nov)
#MeToo burst in India in 2018 and many floodgates were opened. However, the media and the glamour industry faced the most number of allegations. Music director Anu Malik was also accused of sexual harassment and predatory behaviour by many women and singers like Sona Mohapatra and Neha Bhasin took to social media to out Malik’s behaviour. Following Sona’s accusations, Malik was dropped from the judges’ panel of Indian Idol 10 and when he was reinstated last month he was once again dropped and replaced by Himesh Reshammiya for his misdemeanor with women and the alleged accusations.
Sona Mohapatra on Salman Khan’s statement on Priyanka Chopra’s exit from Bharat
Sona Mohapatra is one singer who does not shy away from calling ‘a spade a spade’ and neither is she afraid to take ‘panga’ with seemingly powerful men of Bollywood. So it comes as no surprise that the singer called Salman Khan a ‘poster boy of toxic masculinity’ when he issued some really unpleasant remarks about Priyanka Chopra; it all started when PeeCee left Salman’s Bharat as she was about to get married to Nick Jonas. This did not go down too well with Sallu Bahi who went on to say in one of the promotional interviews of the films that actresses would leave their husbands to play the female lead in Bharat but Priyanka chose otherwise taking a dig at her. Salman’s comment did not go down well with Sona who defended the actress and tweeted, “Priyanka has better things to do in life, real men to hang out with and more importantly, girls to inspire with her journey."
Cus @priyankachopra has better things to do in life, real men to hang out with & more importantly, girls to inspire with her journey.
— ShutUpSona (@sonamohapatra) May 26, 2019
PM Narendra Modi biopic release seen as election agenda
Vivek Oberoi’s comeback film PM Narendra Modi was first slated to release before the country went to polls for General Elections 2019 but the film’s release was stalled by Election Commission saying, “’that any biopic 'which has the potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections should not be displayed in the electronic media.’” The film was finally released worldwide on May 24, 2019, after the elections were over.
Sunaina Roshan getting support from Kangana Ranaut
Hrithik Roshan’s and Kangana Ranaut’s feud is well known. The supposedly alleged lovers had public fallout on social media that resulted in nasty court cases notices as well. However, things took a surprising turn this year when Hrithik’s elder sister Sunaina Roshan came forward and alleged that her family has restricted her movements as she is in love with a Muslim man and revealed that Kangana was speaking the truth all along about Hrithik and the fact that she had always been supportive to Sunaina and has been in touch. Kangana issued her unflinching support to Sunaina but also kept a distance from the family. She said, “Well, I think her family is taking care of her. So I wish them all the very best. She spoke to me. But she is under her family's guidance, so they are taking care of her.”
Shahid Kapoor and Sandeep Reddy Vanga for Kabir Singh
Shahid Kapoor has essentially done pretty clean films in his Bollywood career. However, Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s film Kabir Singh broke that image. The film went on to become a massive hit but fueled a lot of controversies for glorifying misogyny, sexism and violence against women. Many Bollywood celebs, critics as well as common people called out the film’s director as well as Shahid for making such an insensitive film that gives the wrong message to society. In fact, celebs like Sona Mohapatra, Taapsee Pannu, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vaani Tripathi Tikoo called out Vanga for glorifying an alcoholic and abusive character’s actions as love. Vanga also received flak for giving regressive views about love and relationship in an interview. He said, "When you are deeply in love and deeply connected to a woman (and vice versa), if you don’t have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don’t see anything there."
Zaira Wasim quitting Bollywood
National Award-winning actress Zaira Wasim surprised everyone when on June 30, 2019; she announced on social media her decision to quit Bollywood and films. She cited religious reasons for the decision. Her decision received numerous reactions from within Bollywood as well as netizens who questioned her quitting as well as lamented the fact that a talented actress will no longer be part of cinema. Zaira’s last film The Sky Is Pink was released in October. It featured Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar in the lead.
Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi release date vs Salman Khan’s Eid release
Akshay Kumar starrer Sooryavanshi was eyeing an Eid 2020 release and was set to clash with Salman’s film which was supposed to be Inshallah at that time. However, director Rohit Shetty averted a clash and preponed his film’s release from Eid to March 27, 2020, as the film’s shoot was almost wrapped.
Aditya Pancholi case
A leading Bollywood actress filed a rape and extortion case against Aditya Pancholi. The actor has been granted bail in the case for the time being but the proceedings are still going on. Pancholi has stated that the allegations against him are false and he is being framed by the actress. The Versova police had registered a case against Pancholi under Indian Penal Code sections 376 (rape), 323 (assault), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison) and 384 (extortion) in June. The actress had alleged in her complaint that the actor has assaulted her sexually between 2004 and 2009. She had also complained that he tried to extort money from her and had demanded Rs 1 crore from her for not showing her private photographs to her family and friends and under duress she had paid him Rs 50 lakhs. The case is still under jurisdiction.
Taapsee Pannu being labeled Kangana Ranaut’s ‘sasti copy’ by Rangoli Chandel
If we say 2019 was Taapsee Panu's year, we wouldn’t be wrong at all. She was the star of the year and has landed several lucrative projects in her kitty as well. However, her success did not go down too well with Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel who chided her for taking digs at the actress in a previous interview and called her a ‘sasti copy’ in a tweet. Taapsee appreciated Kangana’s film Judgementall Hai Kya’s trailer but failed to applaud the actress’ performance that deserved an ovation. This did not go down well with Rangoli and took a dig at Taapsee for not supporting Kangana and wrote, “Kuch log Kangana ko copy kar ke he apni dukaan chalate hain, magar pls note, they never acknowledge her not even a mention of her name in praising the trailer, last I heard Taapsee ji said Kangana needs a double filter and Tapsee ji you need to stop being a sasti copy.” Taapsee refrained from getting into an altercation and said, “I am not reacting to this. I am way too taken up with looking at the positive side of people, things in general and my own life. I genuinely have no time to spare for this.”
Kangana Ranaut vs Entertainment Journalist Guild
Kangana Ranaut had a showdown with a journalist during the trailer launch event of Judgementall Hai Kya. During the media interaction, Kangana accused the fellow reporter of running a ‘smear campaign’ against her. The journalist's microphone was taken away by the organizers of the event and he and other journalists were pushed around by bouncers at the event. After the event, Kangana’s sister Rangoli Chandel launched an attack on Twitter where she mocked the media persons and abused them by calling names. In retaliation, the Entertainment Journalist Guild was formed by journalists and a statement was issued across all media outlets that they will not cover any event of Kangana unless she and her sister tender an apology. The Mumbai Press Club also seconded them. However, Kangana and Rangoli did not issue an apology for the event.
Karan Johar house party
Karan Johar, Vicky Kaushal, Malaika Arora Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, and several others came under scrutiny when a video from a party hosted by KJo went viral for all the wrong reasons. The video was posted by Karan on social media and featured the above-mentioned actors as his guests. However, the actors were accused of taking drugs at the party and Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa alleged that the actors are ‘flaunting’ their drugged state at the party in the video. Vicky was especially targeted for his looks that were later revealed to be because he was under medication for dengue and was still reeling under the ill-effects of medicines. Karan reacted to these allegations and said, “There were achieving members of the industry who were having an easy night out after a hard week of work, having a good time. I took that video with all the earnestness... would I be putting out that video if there was anything happening at all, I am not stupid.”
Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb vs Salman Khan’s Inshallah Box office clash/ Radhe
With great pomp and fervor, Salman Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali announced they are collaborating after nearly two decades for Inshallah starring Alia Bhatt in the lead. However, in a month’s time, the two stalwarts parted ways citing creative differences and Salman went on to announce his next film Radhe-Your Most Wanted Bhai to release on Inshallah’s Eid date. With this relationship going kaput, Alia lost the opportunity to work with Salman. However, she and Bhansali are teaming up for Gangubai Kathiawadi that is in the works now. In meantime, Akshay Kumar also blocked the Eid release for Laxmmi Bomb, resulting into a clash with Bhais' Radhe.
National Awards: Why URI, why not other Bollywood films?
The 66th National Awards 2019 celebrated the finest in the Indian film industry. Two new powerhouse performers bagged the National Award for Best Actor and they were none-other-than Ayushmann Khurrana for his impeccable performance for Andhadhun and Vicky Kaushal for URI: The Surgical Strike. No one questioned Ayushmann’s win but several pointed fingers at Vicky’s win as he was conferred the honour for a film that was based on the surgical strike in Uri. Many felt that the film was a propaganda film and hence Vicky was chosen as the winner, the actor’s remarkable performance as an Army officer was irrelevant for the naysayers. The detractors did not take into account that the film became the year’s first blockbuster hit and had a profound influence on popular culture as well. The film released in January but ran for months in theatres. Debutant director Aditya Dhar also won the Best Director award at the National Awards. The film’s dialogue ‘How’s the josh?’ became a common phrase in everyone’s lingua.
Priyanka Chopra vs Pakistani journalist
The country saw a dastardly and barbaric attack on CRPF jawans in Pulwama when their convoy was attacked by terrorists. The government retaliated with Balakot airstrike that destroyed terrorist camps in the POK region of Kashmir. Several celebrities applauded the government and the army for their strike back including Priyanka Chopra Jonas. However, she was verbally attacked at an event in the US by a Pakistani woman journalist who accused her of encouraging nuclear war against her country. She questioned the actress’s role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in the light of her February 26 tweet where she congratulated the Indian Air Force after Indian fighter jets attacked the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)'s terrorist camp at Balakot in Pakistan.
Jai Hind #IndianArmedForces
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) February 26, 2019
"As a Goodwill Ambassador, you are encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan. People like me have supported you in your business...," the woman said. However, Priyanka befittingly shut the woman up at Beautycon Los Angeles and said, “I have many, many friends from Pakistan and I am from India. War is not something I'm really fond of but I am patriotic, so I'm sorry if I hurt sentiments to people who do love me and have loved me. But I think that all of us have a, sort of, middle ground that we all have to walk. Just like you probably do as well. The way that you came at me right now... girl, don't yell. We're all here for love.”
— Kalimahtoyibah (@Kalimahtoyibah3) August 10, 2019
The UNICEF seconded Priyanka’s stance and refrained from removing the actress as its ambassador.
Housefull 4 backlash, rigged reviews and BO numbers
Over the years, Akshay Kumar has emerged as the box office king. His films always become hits and appeal to their target audience, holding a record of 11 consecutive hits in nearly a decade. This year too all his releases garnered moolah at the box office. However, Akshay received flak for resorting to a slapstick comedy after doing meaningful cinema like Mission Mangal, but the actor reasoned that slapstick is comedy is also a huge genre and legendary actor Charlie Chaplin was the biggest propounder of it and is still revered today for his comic finesse on screen.
Akshay’s last release Housefull 4 received harsh critique for rigged reviews and inflated box office numbers. However, if truth be told the film has become one of the biggest hits of the year and has emerged kids’ favourite film. Rajender Singh Jiyala, chief programming officer of INOX said, “Housefull 4 has emerged kids’ favourite movie of the season and they couldn’t stop laughing throughout this comic caper. Housefull 4 has received stupendous response across INOX plexes. It has been loved by all age groups, especially family audiences, who have welcomed it wholeheartedly. This Diwali we couldn’t ask for more as it reaffirms our belief that comedy movies work wonders during the festival season.”
Raj Kundra found himself in a soup when Enforcement Directorate began questioning the businessman in its ongoing probe against real estate dealings involving Dawood Ibrahim aide, Iqbal Memon alias Iqbal Mirchi who died in 2013. Apparently, Kundra had dealings with city-based businessman Ranjeet Bindra who has been accused of brokering real estate deals between Mirchi and M/s Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Limited, the firm at the center of controversy which is suspected to have facilitated routing Rs 2,186 crore to Mirchi in Dubai. Kundra has denied the allegations in the past.
Bala vs Ujda Chaman
Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam and Bhumi Pednekar starrer Bala got into a controversy and box office fight with Sunny Singh starrer Ujda Chaman as the two films’ story was similar and dealt with premature baldness. The makers of the two had a legal dispute over the release of the film as well since Ayushamann’s makers tried to prepone the film’s release to cash in on the subject early, but the early release was stalled. Both the films finally released within a week of each other hitting the theatres and managed to garner in the moolah with Bala coming tops over Ujda Chaman, courtsey Ayushmann-Yami Gautam-Bhumi Pednekar's applaud worthy performances.
If we told you that everyone loved the remixes that the film fraternity came out this year recreating iconic songs, we would be lying through our teeth because these remixes, let’s say it aloud, were just terrible. Right from Mugda from Total Dhamaal that had Sonakshi Sinha grooving on Helen’s iconic number to Sheher Ki Ladki in Khandaani Shafakhana, the year saw a deplorable state of affairs in films’ music where cult songs were utterly ruined by ‘recreating’ them to suit today’s sensibilities. Many felt that the veteran music directors and singers overreacted on the remixes but the naysayers and detractors outnumbered the supporters manifold.
Parvathy Thiruvothu calling out Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh
There were many who pointed out that the films Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh were problematic in their portrayal of love and glorifying misogyny, sexism, abusive behaviour and violence against women but nobody put it as succinctly as actress Parvathy Thiruvothu. In a prominent roundtable chat for a critics' platform with other actors including Manoj Bajpayee, Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Ayushmann Khurrana, Alia Bhatt, Vijay Sethupathi, and the Arjun Reddy actor Vijay Devarakonda, Parvathy talked about the film setting a bad example for the audience who is so greatly influenced by cinema in our country. Watch her below.
PARVATHY IS A LEGEND!! pic.twitter.com/DYJv4rWhiN
— S (@brandonfIynn) November 25, 2019
She received immense applause for making it so clear that the A-list stars who shared the table felt uncomfortable listening to the truth that she was highlighting. She was seconded by Deepika and Ayushmann on this as well.
Shane Nigam’s ban from the Malayalam film industry
Malayalam actor Shane Nigam was banned by the Kerala Film Producers Association for his irresponsible behaviour and indiscipline. He had called film producers as "mad caps" but later tended an apology on social media. Malayalam film producer Renjith alluded that Nigam takes drugs and said, “What we wish to say is that the use of drugs, like LSD and such items, is common among a section of new generation actors. We are surprised why the police are not raiding the vans used by such people.” He made this statement in front of the media after the association's meeting that decided to ban Shane Nigam for his indiscipline. But he refused to not name anyone. Shane’s mother refuted the drug abuse allegations and later on, Shane went on to provide an apology for his misbehavior. He wrote on Facebook, “If my statement has hurt anyone, I tender an apology for that. In the past when I came under severe attack, I forgave those who did that and just like that, I am sure I would be forgiven too. I believe that patience is the biggest virtue. I expect and believe that my God and the organization I trust will be with me always. Let us all travel through the path of patience.”