Padmavati has not only been a risky project for the makers of the film, but also for the insurance company that worked with them on the project.
Aatur Thakkar, Director of Alliance Insurance said, “It has been a difficult project from the very beginning, as you are aware the sets of the film were attacked by fringe groups. However that was nothing compared to the threat the movie faces now.”
Alliance has been associated with Padmavati since the very beginning and they claim to take a lot of pride in this association. Thakkar added, “we have not only insured the movie during production but also covered them for a safe release. We are also protecting their revenues if they get affected post a release.”
Padmavati had been postponed from its earlier release date of December 1, and the film has been banned in five states including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan even before the Central Board of Film Certification certified the film. This is definitely not a good sign for the makers, who have a risk cover for the film of Rs 160 cr, apart from the production insurance.
Thakkar informed, “The risk commences only once the movie is allowed to release and there is a claim like situation if the release is disturbed, affecting the revenues from ticket sale collection. We are hoping every thing settles down and the movie releases soon as the filmmakers and the media has promised that there is nothing in the movie which should create this havoc .”
Here is a list of films that fell prey to politics before its release:
Garam Hawa (1974)
The film remained uncensored by the CBFC for nearly 8 months fearing communal violence. But KA Abbas showed the film to government officials leaders and journalists before it found its way to the cinema halls.The film was premiered at Regal cinema prior to the release, and Bal Thackeray, who had threatened to burn down the cinema halls, got to watch the film at a special screening.
The film was a political drama and was alleged to be inspired from the real life story of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi and her estranged husband Feroz Gandhi. The film did not get a proper release while Indira Gandhi was in power and later got banned during the emergency. But in 1977 after the Congress was defeated and Janata Party came into power the film got a proper release on national television.
There were allegations, which were later dismissed by the court, of Amitabh Bachchan’s involvement in the Bofors scam before the release of the film. Audiences were curious to see the film as it was his first release after a gap of two years. It released to a thundering response despite protests and trade pundits said the protests actually helped the film at the box office.
This Sanjay Dutt film’s release coincided with his arrest in the 1993 Mumbai blasts. But the controversy, again, played a part in the film’s huge success.
Aamir Khan’s statement in support of Narmada Bachao Andolan got him into trouble with then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The film did not get released there even the actor’s effigies were burnt. But the controversy helped the film and it was a big hit.
Jo Bole So Nihaal (2005)
Jo Bole So Nihaal was in the eye of a storm for allegedly insulting the Sikh religion. Large-scale protests were seen in Jalandhar and other cities of Punjab. Sikh organisations threatened to launch more protests if the Central Board of Film Certification failed to impose a blanket ban but the film released despite the warnings. It, however, had to be pulled out of many halls because of protests and the producer lost crores.
The movie faced opposition during its shooting from Hindu organisations in Varanasi. The sets were destroyed. The Uttar Pradesh government decided to stop the shooting on 31 January 2000. The shooting was shifted to Sri Lanka later. Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray had said that he hated Deepa Mehta the most. Shiv Sainiks even burnt DVDs of the film. The movie was released in India much later in March 2007.
On its opening day in India, some film theatres were attacked by Hindu fundamentalists for depicting a lesbian relationship.The film was withdrawn and sent back to the Censor Board. But, later it was released uncut.
My Name is Khan (2010)
Before the release of My Name is Khan, Shah Rukh Khan had stated that he had no qualms about having Pakistani cricketers playing in the IPL. This didn’t go down well with Shiv Sena, who tried to obstruct My Name is Khan‘s release. The movie, which finally managed to reach the theatres, was given heavy police protection and had a fractured start at the box office. But the film later went to become a big hit and won critical acclaim as well.
Mani Ratnam’s film was a inter-religion love story set in the backdrop of the Bombay riots. The film was slammed by both Hindu and Muslim leaders of Mumbai. Muslim leaders alleged that there was a biased depiction of the Mumbai riots in the film, and as a result Ratnam had to screen the film for Bal Thackeray before it released in Maharashtra.