As December draws to a close, it’s that time of the year again when we take stock of all that has happened in the last twelve months. 2018 has been a seminal year for Bollywood for several reasons, one of the most important being the many controversies that have rocked the entertainment industry and in the process laid the ground for stronger professional ethics and safer work spaces.
With the world bidding farewell to 2018, here we look at this year’s top seven controversies that made headlines and have caused major disruption in the entertainment industry forcing us all to sit back and reflect.
Her accusing Nana Patekar of sexual harassment on the set of their 2008 film Horn OK Please opened up a Pandora’s Box, finally giving India its #MeToo movement a year after it swept through Hollywood, bringing down several industry leaders, including producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey.
In India too, several bigwigs were named and shamed, including those of actor Alok Nath, filmmaker Sajid Khan and many stand-up comedians.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus began courting controversy right from the time it started filming. Early on, the film’s set in Rajasthan was vandalised and Bhansali was assaulted based on rumours that the film had a romantic dream sequence between Ranveer Singh’s Alauddin Khilji and Deepika Padukone’s queen Padmini. Though Bhansali clarified multiple times that it was just a baseless rumour, he couldn’t pacify the angry fringe groups.
Nearing the film’s release, the Karni Sena protested against nearly everything about it from Padukone showing her midriff in the song Ghoomar to the film’s name and the portrayal of Rajputs in it. School buses were attacked, and Padukone and Bhansali’s effigies were burnt. Threats were even made to cut Padukone’s nose and behead her. Owing to the unrest, the film’s release date was pushed multiple times, affecting the release of several other movies, including PadMan and Aiyaary.
Though fringe groups demanded for a nationwide ban on the film, Padmaavat released across India but Rajasthan, and went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of 2018.
Kangana Ranaut takes over Manikarnika
Another project that’s been mired in controversies ever since it took off is Ranaut’s upcoming film Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi.
First, the film’s director Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi left it reportedly because of Ranaut’s excessive interference. Then actor Sonu Sood—who was in a pivotal role—also left, citing Ranaut’s incompetence as a director. Next Swati Semwal, who was playing Sood’s wife, quit too.
Because of delays and reshoots, the film’s budget, which was earlier estimated to be Rs 60 crore, reportedly shot up to Rs 125 crore, resulting in the sacking of Zee Studios’ business head Sujay Kutty, who had green-lit the project.
Ranaut, who is now helming the project, will be sharing the director’s credit with Jagarlamudi.
Priyanka Chopra steps out of Bharat, The Cut article
Other than her high-profile wedding festivities, the 36-year-old got eyes rolling when she dropped out of Salman Khan-starrer Bharat days before the film was to begin shooting, much to Salman’s displeasure.
In another incident, soon after Priyanka’s wedding, New York Magazine’s website The Cut ran an article in which writer Mariah Smith called her a “scam artist” and accused her of manipulating Nick into marrying her. Smith and the publication were severely panned for blatant racism, sexism and xenophobia by netizens worldwide so much so that The Cut had to pull down the piece and Smith had to issue a public apology.
Prernaa Arora jailed
It’s been a bad year for Prernaa Arora and her production company KriArj Entertainment Pvt Ltd. After major public disputes with actor-producer John Abraham, filmmaker Abhishek Kapoor and producer Vashu Bhagnani over several issues ranging from film rights to non-payment of dues, affecting the making and release of their films Parmanu, Kedarnath and Fanney Khan respectively, the producer was arrested earlier this month for fraud.
Kapil Sharma’s social media meltdown
2018 started on a rocky note for the comedian who was still coping up with the aftermath of his big fallout with Sunil Grover and his show’s other cast members after his in-flight drunken brawl with them in March 2017. His half-cooked attempt at a comeback—Family Time with Kapil Sharma—flopped and was plugged off air only after three episodes, resulting in him breaking down on Twitter early in April.
In a series of abusive tweets, he slammed an entertainment website for carrying fake news and his ex-girlfriend for trying to malign his reputation and ruin his career, forcing his well wishers to worry about his health.
Sharma later deleted the tweets and claimed his account was hacked.
Papon kissed a girl contestant
Assamese singer Papon was called out when he kissed a minor girl contestant of his reality TV show The Voice India Kids during a Facebook live session.
The incident generated a massive outrage on social media with parents questioning the safety of children participating in reality TV and people slamming the singer for his predatory behaviour, forcing the channel to fire him from the show.
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