Hindi cinema history problem: After the furor surrounding Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika is the latest history-based film to be hit by controversy. manikarnika, a film about Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, is facing allegations of distortion of history.
In this context, here’s a look at other Hindi films that showcased historical or controversial events and ran into trouble.
The Aishwarya Rai-Hrithik Roshan starrer also had a run-in with some Rajput groups who said the movie distorted facts. As a result the movie was banned in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand. Historical inaccuracies were also claimed by other fringe groups and controversies refused to die down. Certain Rajput groups even claimed that Jodhaa was married to Akbar’s son Jahangir and not Akbar.
The Shah Rukh Khan film stirred up controversy in Odisha when a historian, Dr. Manman Das, said there were problems in the way Kalinga was showed in the film. Claims of “too many cinematic liberties” being taken were made. Eminent historians, including former Speaker of Odisha Assembly Yudhistir Das, submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding that the film should not be screened in Odisha unless it was viewed by an expert panel.
Yet another film by Sanjay Leela Bhansali to court controversy was Bajirao Mastani released in 2015. Starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, the film faced objections from a group of Bajirao’s descendants who found fault especially with the with dances set to the songs ‘Malhari’ and ‘Pinga’. Also, many shows of the film were cancelled in Pune after BJP workers objected to the portrayal of Peshwa Bajirao I and other aspects of the Peshwa-era in the film. They claimed that Sanjay Leela Bhansali had distorted historical facts.
Mangal Pandey: The Rising
Several political parties demanded a ban on the screening of the film as they claimed that the titular character played by Aamir Khan was wrongly portrayed. The film shows the freedom fighter’s association with a sex worker which raised criticisms against the director Ketan Mehta. The matter was even taken to the Delhi High Court.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh
The CBFC took issue with some of the statements made in the Ajay Devgn starrer. As a result, several cuts were made. “Gandhi’s portrayal is very weak. He doesn’t even hold his head high. I told the filmmakers he was the father of the nation. Don’t let him look like a cow,” Vijay Anand, the then CBFC chairman is reported to have said.
This film on bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi was opposed by the subject of the story herself. She moved the Delhi High Court seeking a ban on the film. Meanwhile, the CBFC cut large portions of the rape scenes that were filmed, and one sequence where Phoolan is paraded naked in Behmai.
In the case of this Anurag Kashyap film, release was delayed by the CBFC which stated that the 1993 Mumbai blasts case was in court. It took two years for the filmmaker to receive a release, after the Supreme Court allowed it following the verdict delivered by the TADA court.
A depiction of the Indian intervention during Sri Lanka’s civil war, this John Abraham starrer ran into trouble for its portrayal of the LTTE. The Madras High Court dismissed a petition to ban the film across the country. Following protests, several theatres in Tamil Nadu decided not to screen the movie.
Being a film about the 2002 Gujarat riots, several theatres in the State refused to screen it, despite the absence of a government-instituted ban. A volunteer effort aided limited screening in the State.