Publicity and controversies, do really define today's Bollywood movies, don't they??? When speaking about publicity, whether it is good or bad, affects the film's performance at the box office immensely. Not only does the film get noticed much earlier than its actual release, but it also creates a sense of interest or curiosity among the audience, thereby increasing its box office collection.
However, a cheap publicity stunt never lasts long and the film fails at the box office. Proper PR methods have to be used by the Bollywood film-makers, even if they have to publicize a bad movie. Quite a task ha!!
Controversies on the other hand, could be much more impactful, fierce, and popular, when compared to just a mere publicity stunt. Controversies may happen by a sigh or even because of subjects like, religion sensitivity, culture misinterpretation, mostly unintentional statements given by actors, political misjudgments, to name a few. Here the fact is that, we have such a thin-skinned population that takes offence at pretty much everything.
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But, whatever turmoil a movie creates before its release, the producers too, don't seem to shut everything down, put a lid on it, probably, because it's just another situation to take advantage of. Steamier the controversy is, the better the movie does in drawing audience to the theatres.
A final say would be, good or bad publicity or the effectivity of a controversy, people watch such movies quite often, and who could be better judges than the public itself to decide the fate of the movie. A nicely-made movie wins in spite of a lot of speculation, while a bad movie is a bad movie!!!!
Here's a list of movies that created controversies.
The most-famous Khan, Salman, landed in a controversy when he compared his strenuous shooting experience for his wrestling-based sports drama ‘Sultan' to the condition of a "raped woman". When whole of the Bollywood fraternity kept mum about this, Sultan's lead lady Anushka Sharma dared to call it ‘insensitive'. Bravo!!
Famous for all wrong reasons much before its release, this film on the drug menace in Punjab, though came with a positive message, did no well in the censor board. Suggesting 89 cuts and to remove all references to Punjab, the censor board took it really hard on the film. Yet, was a film of thought for a particular set of audience.
Shahrukh's press conference statement saying "religious intolerance and not being secular is the worst kind of crime that you can do as a patriot"... led to political disturbance, including VHP and Bajrang Dal protesting prior to the movie release.
Just after the release of the lovely ‘Pinga' song, Bajirao's descendant lashed out at the film's director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, for featuring the song in a wrong manner, wrong costume, and that Kashi Bai, Bajirao's first wife, could not dance and so on. Wasn't the song a treat to one's eyes!!!
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal protested against Salman Khan, to change the name of the movie as it hurt Hindu sentiments. Did it affect the movie?? This movie was the top-grosser of the year!
This movie went to court when an FIR was filed against it, the case being the movie title, the trailer and that the photographs were highly objectionable and offended the religious sentiments and Hindu mythology.
Allover protests were held by VHP and Bajrang Dal; even vandalizing theaters all across the country, the reason being that the film insulted the Hindu religion and rituals. However, many other political parties went on say that the movie gave a very good message regarding religion and its exploitation by ‘dhongi' babas.
Like many other films in the past, say Mausam, Raaz3, UAE censor board banned OMG's release stating the subject was too sensitive in religious terms, causing a whopping loss of 4 Crores to the industry!
Called as an ‘anti-Tamil' movie by the activist group ‘Naam Tamilar' further went on to say that it will not be released in Tamil Nadu, their main argument being that it portrays LTTE cadres as terrorists.
This film had the worst impact causing serious law and order problems and being banned initially, only to be released later on Feb 13, 2015. The main point being, actor Ram Rahim Singh calling himself the messenger of God, who saves the youth from all the abuses like, drugs and alcohol.