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Film promotions are getting weirder by the day, not to mention lacking imagination. Stars and their PR departments usually follow a routine to promote films. Sometimes, they also indulge in creating controversy. But controversies, either created as a part of films promotion or due to outer forces, more often than not backfire.
Film’s promotion teams devise various ways to bring or keep a film in the limelight. Often, court cases are filed over trivial issues related to a film, like its name, poster, lyrics, copyrights or even the theme of the films. Such cases are usually filed from some remote, unknown small towns, and in most cases by an obscure lawyer to gain fame. On many occasions this is done as proxy by the very producer who seeks media space. But this trend has outlived its utility. The law has become wiser on such petitions.
If one talks of controversy over the title of, “Padmaavat” (2018) is a fresh example where a community objected to the depiction of their revered queen of Padmavati. She is an icon of the community besides, of course, and they had objections over the film itself.
The law says that once films are cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification, nobody can object to them. However, the district magistrate of a certain district enjoys the right to stop the screening of films if he thinks it will disturb the peace in his area. This has to be on religious ground or on the basis of harming sentiments in any other way. But, this law is ineffective when a community or a populace resorts to mob mentality and takes the law in their hand, as it happened in the case of “Padmaavat”. The film’s release was delayed. In some states, the delay was so much that, by the time it releases it had lost its momentum. Else, the film would have done even better.
“Billu Barber”, a Shah Rukh Khan movie, also faced trouble because of its title. A representative of the barber community from Mumbai, who has been successful in his traditional vocation, raised objection to his people being described as barbers. India is a country where, traditionally, people and communities have been tagged by their vocations. A lot many use their ancestral family vocations as surnames even today. Eventually, the film’s title had to be shortened to “Billu” (2009).
There was a controversy before the release of Amitabh Bachchan’s film “Shahenshah” (1988), too. The Bofors guns controversy had hit the headlines and Bachchan’s name was dragged in. People were curious, more so because the whole nation had prayed for his recovery following the onset injury in 1981 during the shooting of “Coolie”. The same lot which put him on high pedestal now wanted to pull him down. The film’s posters were blackened with ink.
The release of “Shahenshah” (1988) had to be delayed. As a trial run, a film titled “Kaun Jeeta Kuan Haara”, in which Bachchan played a guest role, was released a few months before “Shahenshah”. Tempers were running high and, finally, theatres screening “Shahenshah” had to be given police protection.
Another film that needed police protection at the cinema halls was Aamir Khan’s “PK”. The word spread that it demeaned Hindu gods. As it happened eventually, people were enjoying the film and it went on to become a major hit.
But the Aamir Khan film that suffered the most was “Fanaa” (2006). Maybe it was to promote the film or maybe he really cared for those who were being displaced due to the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada, but Aamir Khan joined forces with an activist Medha Patkar, who was leading a movement against the dam for over three decades.
One is not sure how Aamir suddenly woke up to the Narmada issue. But the people of Gujarat, who had been hoping for the dam to come up for years were angry. Initially there were protests at many places but in Gujarat the film remained unreleased.
Films court controversy mainly because of an act or utterance by a star. Sanjay Dutt’s “Khalnayak” (1993) faced public ire because Dutt’s name figured in the Mumbai bomb blasts case. A song in the film, “Choli ke pichhe kya hai” also created some controversy but later it also helped the film succeed.
It is not up to a film producer or his distributor once a mob turns against a film or an actor. It is the exhibitors, the cinema owners who raise their hands first. After all, the mob will take out its anger on the cinema property, not on the others concerned. Aamir again created a controversy when he announced that his family was feeling insecure in India! The backlash was solid. This time, there was no film in contention but Aamir was removed from a running endorsement deal.
In early 1990s, the film that had to suffer due to a controversy was Shekhar Kapur’s “Bandit Queen”. The film was based on the book “India’s Bandit Queen: The True Story Of Phoolan Devi” by Mala Sen, with a claim to be the true story of the notorious female bandit, Phoolan Devi.
Of all the people, it was the protagonist of this biopic Phoolan Devi who had moved court. What was more damaging for the film’s box-office prospects was the film was already released in the cinemas and, due to the court order, had to be withdrawn midway through its run. By the time the matter was settled amicably with financial considerations, it was too late for the film to recoup the business it had lost.
Shah Rukh Khan’s “My Name Is Khan” (2010) had its share of troubles as the Shiv Sena tried to stall the film’s release. The controversy started when the Indian Premier League (IPL) body decided not to include cricketers from Pakistan in the League. Khan, who owns the IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders, advocated the inclusion of Pakistani players in IPL . That irked the Shiv Sena. As a result of Sena protests, some cinemas did cancel the screening of the film, though at other cinemas, the film was released under heavy police bandobast.
There are many such controversies related to films. And, strangely enough, they happen just when a film is due for release.
This brings me to the various controversies woven around “Chhapaak”. The film is about an acid attack survivor from Delhi, Laxmi Agarwal. Movie buffs don’t usually like such sordid stories told graphically on screen, because they go to the cinema to be entertained.
How does one create a kind of ‘havva’ around such a film? Keep it in news. Prototype promotion routine was followed, like road shows, appearances on popular TV shows and interviews where Laxmi tagged along with Deepika. The impression was that Laxmi seemed full of life and confidence in all her public appearance.
It all started with a story writer, Rakesh Bharti, taking the legal route to claim the film’s story was his concept. Claiming credit for a story has happened with umpteen number of films, when somebody, out of the blue, files such a case. Then, suddenly, Deepika Padukone springs a surprise by dropping in at the JNU campus, posing with protesters involved in the violent CAB protests with folded hands but saying nothing, either way.
Then, the rumours were spread that the name of the culprit who threw acid at Laxmi had been changed from the original Muslim to a Hindu name. Really, cocky! No such thing.
Finally, the lawyer who fought for Laxmi in real life decided to sue the makers of “Chhapaak” for not giving enough credit to Laxmi.
In the era of social media, this act of her has been a trending topic. Unfortunately, it is Deepika and her act that is trending, not the film that needed the publicity! Deepika’s JNU trip has been rewarded by the governments of Madhya Pradeh and Chhattisgaarh. However, tax exemptions don’t mean much since cinema admission rates come under GST, unlike earlier when it was a state subject.
If a film is exempted by a state, it is only to the extent of its share of GST. That means six percent — or six rupees on a ticket worth Rs 100 — and nine per cent on tickets costing over Rs 100.
Once upon a time, while film production was tedious and involved many laborious stages, their promotion was simpler. Now, thanks to technology advances, film production has become simplified, promotion has become complicated and, unnecessarily at that. If footfalls don’t happen in the name of Deepika and the theme she has chosen for her film, no promotion stunt will bring in the audience. A similar film on acid attack titled “Acid”, was released just a week ago. It went totally unnoticed. May be, that was the cue to go drastic. (IANS)
Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".
With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.
On 1st August 2021, the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated a flyover in the eastern part of the suburbs. In his inaugural speech, he quipped the BMC to smoothen the rough road surface. The BMC swing into action and the surface of the flyover was swiftly re-worked upon. But, instead of smoothening the pre-existing rough surface, the shoddy repair work added to the problem. To top it all off, the BMC added a barrage of speed breakers and rumbler strips on the bridge.
The shoddy repair work combined with a plethora of speed breakers caused long congestions on the Mankhurd-Ghatkopher stretch, ultimately killing the purpose of building the bridge. Moreover, after numerous accidents of motorbikes skidding on the bridge during the rain and the subsequent death of a rider the bridge was closed for traffic.
The construction of the flyover commenced in February 2016 at an approved cost of ₹500 crores. The project was slated to be delivered in January 2019 but was delayed multiple times. The BMC had also made a design change in the flyover by adding a connector to the Deonar dumping ground due to which the construction cost of the flyover was increased to over ₹700 crore. The flyover was expected to bring relief to the traffic on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road but instead, it added to the existing traffic woes. On a concluding note, the maximum city of Mumbai runs on barely minimum governance, literally.
Keywords: Mumbai, Narendra Modi, Civil Services, Governance.
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.