Art & Entertainment

From 'Padmavat' To 'Jolly LL.B 2': Five Bollywood Movies That Faced Legal Troubles Before Release

With actress Alia Bhatt's 'Gangubai Kathiawadi' trapped in a number of legal battles before its release, here are five Bollywood movies that stirred up controversy and were slammed with legal cases before their release.

A Still From 'Gangubai Kathiawadi'

Bollywood produces over 1000 movies in a year. The movies are based on different topics. While some successfully pass the test of audience approval and the Indian box office, a few films have drawn eyeballs. With plethora of content being produced, and filmmakers exercising their creative freedom, sometimes invites legal troubles.

The soon-to-release Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ has been surrounded with legal battles for quite some time now. A recent addition to the list was a PIL filed by an MLA and resident of Kathiawadi area of South Mumbai opposing the use of the area’s name in the film.

However, this is not the first time, any film has faced such legal troubles before its release. Here is a look back at five Bollywood movies that stirred up controversy and were slammed with legal cases before their release.

'Padmavat' (2018)

The 2018 Sanjay Leela directorial ‘Padmavat’ was the centre for several legal troubles. Many right-wing groups claimed that the film misrepresents history and tarnishes the reputations of their king and queen. Both the director, Bhansali, and the lead actress, Deepika Padukone, received death threats. Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Haryana had banned the film's screenings while it awaited certification from the certificate board. The film, on the other hand, did not receive the necessary certifications from the Certificate Board. The apparent reason for this was the filmmakers' incomplete application as well as the 68-day rule (one must submit the application to the film certification board at least 68 days before the release date). There was also a change in the name of the movie from ‘Padmavati’ to ‘Padmavat’.

'Jolly LL.B 2' (2017)

‘The State vs. Jolly LL.B 2’ (also known as ‘Jolly LL.B 2’) is a 2017 Indian Hindi-language black comedy film written and directed by Subhash Kapoor and produced by Fox Star Studios. It is a quasi-sequel to the 2013 film Jolly LLB and the second instalment of the ‘Jolly LLB’ franchise. The film's title and portrayal of the Indian legal system sparked debate. The use of the term LLB was a "deliberate attempt" to insult the Indian legal system, according to Advocate Ajaykumar Waghmare, who filed a case in the Bombay High Court to have it removed. The Bombay High Court appointed a three-member committee to investigate the film's content. The Supreme Court of India also appointed a three-member panel to review the film, which included Chief Justice J. S. Khehar and Justices N. V. Ramana and D. Y. Chandrachud. A derogate reference to Bata Shoes, a shoe brand, was shown in the film's trailer. On behalf of Bata India, Kochhar & Co issued a legal notice to the filmmakers and filed an INR 30 million lawsuit against them. With regard to the filed lawsuit, the CBFC had edited out the reference to the brand. The film is banned in Pakistan, where the Central Board of Film Censors objected to some scenes depicting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

'Udta Punjab' (2016)

Filmmaker Abhishek Chaubey's ‘Udta Punjab’ is a 2016 Indian crime film written and directed by him. It is loosely based on and revolves around youth drug abuse in the Indian state of Punjab, as well as the various conspiracies that surround it. The controversy surrounding the release of the film, starring actors Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhat, has been one of the longest in Bollywood history. With the initial jolt coming from the Certificate Board (CBFC) suggesting cuts across 13 categories to the protests across northern India, and then a slew of petitions filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging that the film portrays Punjab negatively and promotes drug use, ‘Udta Punjab’ fought a long and drawn-out battle. The courts in India finally put an end to the long-running controversy surrounding the film's release, ruling that it contains nothing objectionable.

'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' (2016)

Filmmaker Karan Johar directed, produced, and wrote ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, a 2016 Indian Hindi-language musical romantic drama film. Actors Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Fawad Khan star in the film, with actors Shah Rukh Khan, Lisa Haydon, and Imran Abbas making cameo appearances. The plot of this Johar romantic drama did not cause controversy, but its release was delayed due to the casting of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. Protests erupted across the country in response to the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18, 2016, as well as the decision by the Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India to prohibit the release of films starring Pakistani actors in four states: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Goa. The MNS warned theatre owners across the country not to screen the film, citing the casting of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in the film, and threatened them with vandalism if they did. Fawad Khan's role was then heavily edited out after filming. Johar also apologised and made a donation to the Indian Army Welfare Foundation.

'Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela' (2013)

Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’ is a 2013 tragic love story based out the 1961 film West Side story. The film stars actors Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in lead roles. The film was originally titled ‘Ram-Leela’, but it was renamed after some religious groups objected to the title being related to Lord Rama, despite the fact that the film was a retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet. After petitions were filed, the film was renamed.