The controversy was further fuelled by the song's lyrics.
Welcome to the thrilling world of Bollywood, where the drama off-screen often rivals the on-screen spectacle.
In 2023, the industry saw an unprecedented surge in popularity, rebounding from the #BoycottBollywood movement with renewed vigour.
This resurgence has been marked by a series of controversies that have kept audiences worldwide on the edge of their seats.
From the rise of cancel culture to the relentless social media trolling, Bollywood has been a hotbed of debate and discussion.
Adding to the mix, the emergence of Gen Z actors has brought a fresh wave of talent and controversy, challenging the status quo and redefining the industry’s landscape.
Join us as we delve into the 10 must-know Bollywood controversies of 2023.
Om Raut’s ambitious project, Adipurush, was hailed as a grand cinematic retelling of the revered Ramayana epic.
With a high-budget production and a star-studded cast featuring Prabhas and Kriti Sanon, the film was poised to be a blockbuster hit.
However, it ended up being a box-office disappointment, failing to live up to the sky-high expectations of the audience. The film was met with criticism on several fronts.
The visual effects and graphics, despite the high budget, were deemed subpar, failing to create the immersive, fantastical world that viewers anticipated.
The dialogues, intended to be the soul of this epic narrative, were described as mediocre, lacking the depth and resonance that the story demanded.
The plot, too, was seen as lacklustre, failing to capture the grandeur and complexity of the original epic.
In response to the criticism, the filmmakers made adjustments to the dialogues post-release, in an attempt to salvage the film’s reputation.
However, this move was met with mixed reactions. While some appreciated the effort to address the issues, others saw it as too little, too late.
The film continued to be the subject of extensive trolling on social media, further denting its image.
OMG 2 Certification
OMG 2, the much-anticipated sequel, found itself at the centre of a certification storm with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The board demanded a staggering 35 cuts, including a significant transformation of Akshay Kumar’s character from Lord Shiva to his messenger.
This move was seen as a significant alteration to the film’s narrative and sparked a heated debate.
The filmmakers had initially aimed to secure a U/A certification, hoping to reach a broader audience that included both adults and younger viewers.
However, the CBFC’s stringent demands led to the film receiving an ‘A’ certificate, restricting its viewership to those aged 18 and above.
This decision significantly limited the film’s accessibility, impacting its potential reach and box office performance.
The certification controversy ignited a broader debate on the delicate balance between artistic freedom and religious sensitivity.
Critics argued that the CBFC’s demands were excessive, stifling creative expression and altering the film’s intended narrative.
On the other hand, supporters of the board’s decision argued that the cuts were necessary to maintain religious sensitivity and prevent potential controversy.
Despite the certification hurdles and the ensuing controversy, OMG 2 was released in August 2023.
Alia Bhatt’s Lipstick Revelation
In a candid moment during a makeup tutorial with Vogue Beauty Secrets, Alia Bhatt shared a personal anecdote about her husband and fellow actor, Ranbir Kapoor, that sparked a wave of public discussion.
Recalling their early dating days, Alia revealed: “When we used to go out at night, he (Ranbir Kapoor) would ask me to wipe off my lipstick because he loves the natural colour of my lips.”
This seemingly innocent remark was the catalyst for Alia’s unique lipstick application technique, where she leaves only a tint by wiping off her lipstick with her fingers.
However, the statement had unintended consequences, igniting a debate about relationship dynamics and personal autonomy.
Many interpreted Ranbir’s preference for Alia’s natural lip colour as a sign of control, labelling him as ‘controlling’ and even ‘toxic.’
Critics argued that Alia’s decision to alter her makeup routine based on Ranbir’s preference was indicative of an imbalance in their relationship.
However, others viewed the situation differently, seeing it as a personal choice made by Alia based on her partner’s preference, rather than a demand imposed upon her.
They argued that in a relationship, it’s common for partners to influence each other’s preferences and habits.
Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal
As 2023 drew to a close, Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s film Animal found itself in the eye of a storm.
The film, featuring Ranbir Kapoor in a performance that won many accolades, became a hotbed of controversy due to its content and portrayal of characters.
A significant portion of the audience took issue with the film’s depiction of toxic masculinity and misogyny.
Critics argued that the film’s narrative was steeped in chauvinism, with scenes of unnecessary violence and a portrayal of women that left much to be desired.
These elements combined to create a whirlwind of online debate, with social media platforms buzzing with discussions about the film’s controversial themes.
Adding fuel to the fire was the unclear dialogue delivery of the female lead, Rashmika Mandanna, in the film’s trailer.
This sparked further controversy, with viewers questioning the quality of the film’s production and the casting choices.
However, upon the film’s release, it became clear that Mandanna’s dialogue was contextually appropriate for the scene, leading to a reassessment of initial criticisms.
As the industry continues to evolve, films like Animal underscore the need for thoughtful, nuanced portrayals of complex social issues.
Deepika & Ranveer’s Appearance on Koffee With Karan
Karan Johar’s popular talk show, Koffee With Karan, known for its candid conversations and occasional controversies, kicked off its latest season with Bollywood’s power couple, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh.
However, the episode quickly became a hot topic of discussion, not just for the couple’s charming chemistry, but for a revelation that stirred the pot.
During the conversation, Deepika made a candid admission about the early days of her relationship with Ranveer.
She confessed to “seeing other people” during the initial phase of their dating period.
While she was quick to clarify that she was “mentally committed” to Ranveer during this time, the statement sparked a wave of public criticism.
Many viewers interpreted Deepika’s admission as an indication that she had used Ranveer as a backup option, leading to a backlash against the actress.
Critics argued that her statement was disrespectful to her husband and questioned the sincerity of their relationship.
However, others defended Deepika, arguing that her honesty about the complexities of their early relationship was refreshing.
They pointed out that relationships often have complicated beginnings and that Deepika’s admission was a reflection of this reality.
Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor’s Sneaker Controversy
Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor, son of Bollywood veteran Anil Kapoor, found himself amid controversy following a public statement about counterfeit sneakers.
Known for his love of high-end sneakers, Kapoor took to social media to urge his followers to stop wearing fake versions of these luxury items.
However, his well-intentioned advice was met with criticism, with many accusing him of being ‘out-of-touch’ with reality.
Critics argued that his comments failed to consider the economic realities faced by many of his followers, who may not have the means to afford genuine high-end sneakers.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time a member of the Kapoor family has faced such criticism.
Harsh Varrdhan’s sister, Sonam Kapoor, has also been accused of being disconnected from the realities of the average Indian, sparking debates about privilege and celebrity responsibility.
While Kapoor’s intention might have been to discourage counterfeiting, his comments have ignited a broader conversation about economic disparity and the role of celebrities in perpetuating unrealistic lifestyle standards.
As the debate continues, it serves as a reminder of the delicate balance public figures must maintain when addressing their followers.
The year 2023 kicked off with a whirlwind of controversy in Bollywood, with Deepika Padukone’s saffron bikini in the song ‘Besharam Rang’ from Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan at the epicentre.
The vibrant costume, coupled with the song’s lyrics and the overall aesthetics of the music video, sparked a heated debate on the internet.
A significant section of netizens took umbrage at the choice of colour for Deepika’s bikini, alleging that it was a disrespectful appropriation of the saffron colour, which holds deep religious significance in India.
The controversy was further fuelled by the song’s lyrics, which some interpreted as being in poor taste and potentially offensive to religious sentiments.
The controversy surrounding ‘Besharam Rang’ highlights the fine line that filmmakers must tread when incorporating elements of cultural and religious significance into their work.
While some view the controversy as an overreaction, others see it as a necessary conversation about respect and sensitivity towards cultural symbols.
Rhea Chakraborty’s New Chapter
Rhea Chakraborty, a prominent figure in Bollywood, has been under the harsh glare of public scrutiny since the tragic demise of her former boyfriend, Sushant Singh Rajput.
The actress was spotted with a man rumoured to be her new boyfriend, a development that once again put her in the crosshairs of online trolls.
The news of Chakraborty dating again had been met with a barrage of negative comments on the internet.
Critics, hiding behind the anonymity of their screens, targeted her with misogynistic remarks, with comments like “Next bakra” being posted across various platforms.
These comments reflect a disturbing trend of online harassment and victim-blaming that many public figures, particularly women, face.
Despite the negativity, Chakraborty’s decision to move forward and embrace love again is a testament to her resilience.
It serves as a reminder that everyone has the right to seek happiness and personal growth, regardless of their past.
As the actress navigates this new chapter in her life, the controversy underscores the need for empathy and respect in public discourse.
Urfi Javed’s Style
Urfi Javed, a rising star in the entertainment industry, has become a sensation on the internet, not just for her acting prowess, but for her bold and unconventional fashion choices.
Every outfit she dons seems to capture the public’s attention, making her a trendsetter in the world of fashion.
However, her unique style has not been without controversy.
The actress has faced a barrage of criticism, with her fashion choices often becoming a target for online trolls and street harassers.
Several instances of her being bullied and harassed in public due to her outfits have been captured on video, going viral on the internet, and sparking widespread debate.
Despite the criticism, Javed has remained unapologetic about her fashion choices, standing her ground in the face of adversity.
Her resilience in the face of such public scrutiny has been lauded by many, turning her into a symbol of individuality and self-expression.
The Kerala Story
The Kerala Story, a film that promised to shed light on the socio-political landscape of Kerala, instead ignited a firestorm of controversy.
The film’s depiction of forced religious conversions and the alleged recruitment of thousands of women by ISIS became a hotbed of debate, with critics and supporters clashing over its narrative.
The film’s portrayal of these sensitive issues was contested by many who pointed to factual inaccuracies and perceived it as promoting the ‘love jihad’ conspiracy theories.
Critics denounced the film as Islamophobic, arguing that it painted an entire community with a broad brush and could potentially harm religious harmony in a diverse society.
On the other hand, supporters of the film argued that it brought to light genuine concerns that needed to be addressed.
They contended that the film was merely a reflection of reality, albeit a harsh one, and that it was essential to confront these issues head-on.
The controversy surrounding The Kerala Story was further amplified by legal challenges and the condemnation by the Kerala state government.
Despite these hurdles, the film was released, adding fuel to the ongoing debate over its accuracy and impact.
As we wrap up our journey through the tumultuous landscape of Bollywood in 2023, it’s clear that the industry is more vibrant and dynamic than ever.
The controversies we’ve explored reflect the changing face of Bollywood, shaped by the rise of Gen Z actors, the power of social media, and the impact of cancel culture.
Despite the challenges, Bollywood’s resilience and adaptability have shone through, turning the #BoycottBollywood movement into a catalyst for change and growth.
As we look forward to what the future holds, one thing is certain: Bollywood will continue to captivate, entertain, and provoke thought, keeping us all eagerly awaiting the next plot twist.