What’s In The Name? A Look At Bollywood Film Titles That Sparked Controversies

Controversies have always been a part of Bollywood. While Bollywood has had the upper hand in most debates, there have been times when things have gone too far and the directors got affected by the controversies and people criticising their films. Films often land into trouble when one section finds some scenes objectionable or the movie’s title derogatory. Today, we will look into the movies that changed their names before release after receiving major flak.

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Padmaavat

The film, which was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus and possibly one of his most ambitious projects, sparked controversy like no other. The protests were ferocious, and the cast of the film received death threats at one point.

According to the reports, a 10 crore bounty was placed on Deepika Padukone’s head, which required her security to be increased. However, the protestors eventually settled on an “I” — and the film was released as Padmaavat (the initial name was Padmavati) after intense nationwide protests and vandalism. The film sparked controversy because it was based on Rani Padmavati (or Padmini) of Chittor, and the makers were accused by Karni Sena members of distorting history and facts.

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Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela

Padmaavat was not the only controversial film of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s. Much earlier, in 2013, the name of another of his films — which starred Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh — caused controversy. The film’s original title, Raamleela, irritated several religious groups and sparked nationwide protests. According to reports, a petition was filed against the film for offending religious sentiments by using Lord Ram’s name in the title. The Kshatriya community also requested a few changes to the film, which they deemed provocative. Following the controversies, the film’s title was changed to Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela.

Judgementall Hai Kya

When the poster for the film Mental Hai Kya, featuring actors Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao posing with a blade on their tongues, was released, it raised several eyebrows. Things quickly went south for the filmmakers when the film’s title sparked controversy. According to reports, the Indian Medical Association, the Indian Psychiatric Society and Deepika Padukone’s Live Love Laugh Foundation all criticised the film and asked for a name change because the current one is derogatory to mental health. To avoid any confusion, the creators added the word “judge” to the name, changing it to Judgementall Hai Kya.

Laxmii

A few days before the release of Akshay Kumar’s horror comedy Laxmii Bomb, the film and its creators were embroiled in controversy after several religious groups found the title offensive and derogatory. According to reports, the Hindu Sena argued that associating the name of Goddess Laxmmi with the word Bomb is derogatory and hurts the Hindu community’s sentiments. After receiving negative feedback and protests, the film’s title was changed to Laxmii. The film, starring Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani, was released on Disney+Hotstar on November 9, 2020.

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