One of the highest-paid A-list actresses, Deepika Padukone, has become embroiled in a major controversy by attending a public meeting on Tuesday at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which witnessed a violent attack on protesting students by some masked people on the weekend.
The makers of Chhapaak film and Padukone are facing widespread criticism for coming out in support of demonstrators who congregated on Tuesday in a show of unity against the attack on JNU students.
Hashtags #BoycottChhapaak and #ShameonBollywood have been trending on social media, as people slammed the actress for joining the protest of the students union, viewed as anti-national by a section of people in the city.
However, Chhapaaak isn’t the first film to land in the soup. A number of mega-budget films like PK, Haider, Dangal, Padmavat, and Veere Di Wedding have also faced such boycotts. Despite the controversies and thousands of tweets calling for boycott, the films emerged a big hit at the box office, churning huge amounts for the producers.
Padmaavat - Zealots Protecting History
The period drama film by ace director Sanjay Leela Bhansali became the center of major controversy when members of fringe groups like Karni Sena and Hindu Sena objected to the portrayal of erstwhile Queen Padmaavati in a bad light. Opponents of the film held protests, vandalised the film sets and attacked its filmmaker Bhansali. The name of the film was later changed from ‘Padmavati’ to ‘Padmavat’ and also forced the makers to delete certain scenes.
Despite the hurdles faced by the film, Padmaavat raked in Rs. 525 Crore ($73 million) worldwide as per Boxoffice India data.
PK - Anti-Hindu
PK, starring actor Aamir Khan and released in 2016, was a satirical comedy film. It sparked outrage amongst Hindus for questioning superstitions and age-old beliefs followed by people in the country where religion is deeply rooted in the public conscience. The film also questioned those who blindly follow Gurus. Hashtag #boycottPK trended on social media, as many criticised the film for "maligning Hinduism" and showing it in a bad light.
The film made Rs. 854 crores ($118 million) in worldwide grossing and also garnered the praise of film critiques for its comic timing and raising thought-provoking questions. PK stands as one of the highest-grossing films in Indian film history.
Veere Di Wedding – Film Promotion over Rape
The film starring Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhaskar and Shikha Talsania also faced controversies similar to Chhapaak after several actresses involved in the film took a stand against the gang rape, torture and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, in 2018. The pictures of actresses holding placards triggered outrage. The placards read, "I am Hindustan. I am Ashamed. #JusticeForOurChild. 8 years old. Gangraped. Murdered. In 'Devi'-sthaan temple."
Hashtag #BoycottVeereDiWedding starting trending on twitter soon before its release, as people accused the actresses of using the rape case as propaganda to promote their film.
The film crossed the Rs.100 Crore ($13.8 million) mark, with an overseas grossing of $2,630,000 in the first week of its release.
Haider – Rebelling Patriots
The film, set amidst the insurgency-hit Kashmir conflicts of 1995, portrayed the struggles of a young Kashmiri student who sought answers about his father's disappearance. The film outraged patriots and nationalists for portraying the Indian army in a bad light and alleged that the film sympathises with militants.
The movie was highly acclaimed by critics and did decent business at the box office by crossing the Rs. 100 Crore benchmark.
Dangal – Intolerant Nationalists
#LetsBoycottDangal became the top trend in India soon after its poster was released, as people targetted its actor Aamir Khan for his public statement saying he feared for the safety of his child in the country due to growing intolerance. The actor made the remark after a mob lynching incident made media headlines.
The film grossed more than Rs. 7 Crores ($0.9 Million) at the box office and became a superhit soon after its release.