Gangubai Kathiawadi director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is no stranger to controversy when it comes to his films. The filmmaker is currently steeped in a controversy revolving around Gangubai Kathiawadi’s portrayal. A Mumbai court issued summons to actor Alia Bhatt, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, authors S Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges, and the producers of the film after an individual who claimed to be Gangubai’s adopted son filed a complaint of defamation, criticizing the wrongful depiction of his mother in the upcoming biopic. Just like Gangubai Kathiawadi, here are five other films of auteur filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali which have previously been mired in controversies.
Padmaavat (2018) was involved in a controversy when the activists of a Rajput group, attacked the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical epic. A group of pro-Rajput activists forcefully stopped the shoot, vandalised the Jaigarh Fort sets and also assaulted the filmmaker, alleging that he was “distorting historical facts”. Avoiding any more confrontations, Bhansali decided to vacate the city and instead substituted for the film’s grandeur palace in Jaipur with Mumbai’s Film City. Many celebs supported Bhansali in the attack, while Bhansali later said in a statement that the incident was uncalled for and damaged the reputation of Jaipur.
Bajirao Mastani (2015)
In 2015, Sanjay Leela’s Bajirao Mastani ran into controversy when the descendants of Bajirao Peshwa and Mastani Baisaheb held a joint press conference and objected to the film’s historical inaccuracies. The group put forward their objections to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, erstwhile Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma, then Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and then CBFC Chairperson, Pahlaj Nihalani. They demanded the government review the film, analysing the historical depiction of the Peshwa and his wives and arrive at a decision for the film’s release. However, Bhansali and his team came forward with their defence and said they put a disclaimer at the beginning of the film which read, “all characters appearing in this work are fictitious, any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.”
Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela (2013)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela also faced a lot of turbulence leading up to its release. Large scale protests took place in India at the time of its release. The protesters had problems with the title of the film and the provocative allusions to certain communities. The Kshatriya community in Gujarat was offended by the use of names like ‘Jadeja’ and ‘Rabari’. These protests led by a couple of NGO’s, extremist social welfare workers and faith groups resulted in Bhansali changing the film’s title from Ramleela to the present title.
Sanjay Leela’s drama film starring Hritik Roshan and Aishwariya Rai steeped into controversy, when noted novelist Dayanand Raajan accused Guzaarish writer Bhavani Iyer of lifting the core theme of his unpublished novel Summer Snow for the plot of the movie. The filmmakers were served with a seven-day notice over the film’s content. According to the film’s plot, it deals with the story of a paralyzed magician-turned-radio jockey who files a petition in court seeking permission to end his life. According to Filmibeat, Dayanand had revealed that the film had many uncanny resemblances to his novel, with both settings and character being familiar to the novel.
Mary Kom (2014)
The sports biopic directed by Omung Kumar and backed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali landed into controversy in 2013 when a US-based make-up artist Mark Garbarino claimed in an email that he was not paid for his time and efforts to transform Priyanka Chopra into the ace Indian boxer from Northeast India. He had got in touch with the filmmakers and screenwriter Saiwyn Quadros over non-payment of dues, which has since been amicably resolved.
Promo Image Source: Alia Bhatt Twitter
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