MUMBAI: Legal hassles and controversies never leave our filmmakers. Even as cinemas open and the biggies gear up for release, and OTT spreads its base, a host of new legal woes have emerged for various film and web series makers. The latest to face the fire is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, starring Alia Bhatt. The film has got into a legal mess. One of the four children of Kathiawadi, Babu Rawji Shah, has filed a criminal defamation case against the film. Trade analyst Komal Nahta says that such cases just add to the publicity of a project.
“Such stories and reports just increase the talk around the film. In fact, more awareness is created about the film. There is no one who doesn`t go to watch a film because of this. In fact, footfalls can increase because of this. It all depends on how big a controversy is,” he told IANS.
Indeed, Bhansali is no stranger to controversies. His last release ‘Padmaavat’ faced legal problems before release in 2018. However, the Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone-Shahid Kapoor starrer went on to become a huge hit. “More people might come to watch the film, but that will only happen if the content is good. Nothing can save a bad film,” he says.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan feels that makers must safeguard themselves against these problems from before. “There must be some way that the makers can protect themselves and make such things clear before. These things disturb them and their creative process and can be avoided,” he says. He adds, “But, for the film, things like these just add to the curiosity and more people want to watch the film.”
Here are some of the projects that are embroiled in legal controversies lately:
Hyderabad-based filmmaker Nandi Chinni Kumar has accused the makers of copyright infringement. However, the makers of ‘Jhund’ have denied the allegation. Kumar claimed he had bought the rights in November 2017 for his film titled ‘Slum Soccer’, which was based on the life of slum soccer player Akhilesh Paul, the Indian captain at the Homeless World Cup. The story of Jhund is based on Paul`s coach Vijay Barse. Kumar claims that the makers of Jhund told him that they bought the rights from Kumar, although Kumar gave him three no-objection certificates which clearly say that he did not sell the rights to the makers. The Telangana High Court has stalled the release of Jhund and the Supreme Court has refused to lift it.
The Alia Bhatt-starrer is in legal trouble, and the actress and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali have been summoned by the court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate in Mumbai. One of the four children of Kathiawadi, Babu Rawji Shah, have filed a criminal defamation case against the actress and director. Shah says that the movie is defamatory. Alia and Bhansali are scheduled to appear in court on May 21.
Filmmaker Mari Selvaraj recently posted a statement on social media regarding the song Pandarathi Puranam in the film Karnan, starring Dhanush. A resident of Madurai filed a petition in Madurai High Court regarding the word `Pandarathi`. He said that the word can be insulting to a certain section of people. He requested the court to either have the song removed from the film and ban the film till they remove the song.
The show got into trouble with the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. The NCPCR issued a legal notice to Bombay Begums to stop airing the show due to its inappropriate portrayal of children. It also claimed that a show like this would pollute young minds and result in the exploitation of children. In the show, a 13-year-old was shown snorting cocaine. There was also an issue about girls sending inappropriate pictures of body parts to boys.