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The double standards of Bollywood over Padmavati and freedom of speech

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Writer,Indie Filmmaker from Mumbai

Bollywood has always been vocal and ahead in inspiring and educating people of ‘Say No to Tobacco’, cleanliness, and many other initiatives beneficial to public in general. it is assumed that celebs are the role model and are considered as above any discussion and are the final and effective word.

There are instances where Bollywood was not vocal and hide in infinite silence, where double standards were clearly visible and judged by the people. Following are the instances where the double standards of the film industry were exposed.

FILMS: The first and top most incident I rate is the controversy around filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri’s ”Buddha in a traffic jam”, Country’s leading left wing organisations were gunning at the Director as he dared to showcase the plight of population in Naxal affected Bastar district of Chattisgarh. Film showcased the actual plight of poor villagers and provided solutions to uplift their life standard. This angers the left minds, as filmmaker was invited to universities across the country to showcase the film, he was attacked, threatened with dire consequences by the left student wings. More surprising was the fact that not even a single Bollywood celebrity (who are very vocal in every incident happening around the country) spoke in favour of the filmmaker. Vivek Agnihotri was fighting a lone battle. When it came to Censor Board issues with ”Udta Punjab” and recent Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ”Padmavati”, Bollywood united like a lost family reunion, Vivek Agnihotri supported the freedom of expression and the release of ”Udta Punjab” as well as the smooth release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ”Padmavati”, but fought a lone battle with the release of his film.

Similar incident occured with National award winner filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar. His film on black spot on democracy, ‘Emergency’, was opposed by the Congress party. He was almost held hostage inside hotel before the press release of the film. In the words of Mr Bhandarkar, “We are like hostage in the hotel room. We had to cancel the event. The hotel management asked us not to step out as the cadre is here since 1 pm. Since the last three hours, we have been locked in one room. My whole team is in the room”. Surprisingly no Bollywood celebrity stood for the freedom of expression of National Award winner filmmaker. He was forced to make cuts as well as mute the words in order to release the film ‘Indu Sarkar’

Recent controversy around Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmavati’ refuses to die, Sanjay Leela Bhansali was attacked during the shoot of the film by fringe organisation called Karni Sena. He was dragged, beaten and threatened with dire consequences if he depicts the Rajput community in a bad light. It was bit strange as well as fact that no one knew the script except the film crew, how come one jump on the field and sing a song with no lyrics? Some even said that it was publicity gimmick by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and it will die down before the release. Whether it is a gimmick or a reality, no fringe has right to take law into their own hand to stop the film and Freedom of Expression of the Filmmaker. Latest is Sanjay Leela Bhansali has shown the film to media editors much before showing to CBFC, doubts emerges as to who wants to keep the flame burning. CBFC later returned the Censor application citing some technical lapses. The Industry stands united like a Rock with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and supports the smooth release of ‘Padmavati’.

PREACHING: Bollywood Filmmakers and celebs preaches honesty and love for the Country round the clock, but when it came to bribing the critics for favourable reviews, signing the Pakistan artists, film funding, their voice is paralyzed from the bottom. Several instances where our country and forces were abused by the Pak artists, but Bollywood celebs choose to remain silent considering their film and money interests. The celebs who preaches health is wealth were seen doing drugs in private. Celebrities can be seen abusing off camera and doing all sorts of misadventures not recommended in general.

NEPOTISM: Nepotism has been a hot topic round the Year after controversial and correct remark by Kangna Ranaut on the show ‘Koffee with Karan’. Karan Johar was so offended by the comments that he wrote a complete blog on the remarks made by Kangna. The debate ran through columns and screen media for days. Every celebrity gave their take on nepotism and justified or denied the existence of nepotism. Nepotism is the hard reality which exist in Bollywood and all other Industries. This is a fact that the star child gets the silver screen presence easily and if he is not capable, he is made to fit the silver screen, but talent and hard work is what needed for all of us to survive. Nepotism is and will always be a part of film Industry no matter what the talks are.

MAFIA Bollywood has always been surrounded by the Mafia waves. Before it was underworld mafias dominating the film production and distribution, film distributions were decided on the table, as to which film will get what number of screens just to surpass the total number of shows of the rivals film. This benefits the weekend collection and if the film were good, it benefited overall. Over the years Mafias in Bollywood have changed their strategy, with the disappearance of underworld from the main scenerio, a new lot has emerged, which controls the film industry and its aspects.

Karan Johar and Kangana Ranaut had a public fallout. When Karan called Kangana on his chat show ‘Koffee With Karan’, the actress openly slammed the filmmaker for running a movie mafia and flag-bearer of nepotism, many in Bollywood and in general were not surprised by Kangana’s remarks. Last year In a shocking series of tweets, actor Ajay Devgn has accused “self-proclaimed critic” Kamaal Rashid Khan (KRK) of taking money to malign his film ‘Shivaay’. In an audio clip, KRK said that filmmaker Karan Johar paid him Rs 25 lakh to praise his film, ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil ‘(ADHM), and trash Devgn’s ‘Shivaay’, both of which released on Diwali last year. Earlier in 2012 also, Devgn had filed a legal complaint against YRF accusing them of indulging in unethical business practices over the number of screens allotted to ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ that released on the same day as Devgn’s ‘Son of Sardaar’.

Big studios or producers indeed playing in a game getting more lot of screens to trash the rival films. Big producers easily get what they want as no screen owner will favour new or small film makers to take hate with Big Film families who are into films through their whole life and are continuously making films. Mafia is indeed active in film industry Big producers paying to kill other films either through paid reviews or snatching screens.

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Writer,Indie Filmmaker from Mumbai
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