Web series and films have become an integral part of our lives, even more so during the lockdown. These shows kept us entertained in the past few months when we could not go out or invite someone to our homes. However, many of these shows were mired in several controversies! With multiplied eyeballs came added scrutiny, and so OTT saw its share of controversies and backlash too. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the newsmakers of 2020:
Ashram termed Hinduphobic
Headed by filmmaker Prakash Jha, the show courted controversy for its ‘hinduphobic’ narrative. This led to the hashtag #ArrestPrakashJha trending on Twitter! A lot of excitement and criticism continued since the announcement of this web series. The series was attacked by netizens who called for its ban, as it also showed Babaji and his ashram being questioned for corrupt practices. The web series seems like a compelling suspense drama about the country’s exploitative godmen.
Why was Indian Matchmaking so controversial?
The show received some criticism on the grounds of normalizing and encourages sexism, colorism, and casteism. People called out the creators saying they failed to challenge the regressive beliefs that were openly stated. However, many of Taparia’s one-liners from the show became viral memes and jokes on social media. While the show revealed much about longstanding Indian traditions, it did not show the dark and ugly side of an arranged marriage. Messages that women under 5 feet 3 inches or ones who aren’t slim are undesired kept repeated throughout the show. Like Ankita Bansal from the show believes, if we continue to raise our voices collectively against the misogyny inherent in the matchmaking practice, it will begin to die out and our daughters can imagine a better future.
A Suitable Boy for promoting love-jihad
A fresh controversy erupted over Netflix’s web series A Suitable Boy after a Bhartiya Janata Party leader alleged that the show hurts religious sentiments. At the heart of the debate lies a crucial concern that there is no substantive evidence love-jihad exists in India. Isn’t it a very patriarchal notion of protecting women? Doesn’t the constitution stipulate this Hindu majority country is a secular democracy? To view inter-religious unions as a threat to the integrity of the Hindu community was totally uncalled for! The scene was meant to be a touching moment in a fictional miniseries but a kiss between a young Hindu woman and a Muslim man inside a temple sparked controversy and became the latest flashpoint in the country’s identity politics.
Gunjan Saxena’s battle between facts and fiction
Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl based on the life of one of the first Indian Air Force woman pilots to fly in a combat zone has given way to a full-blown controversy. Post the release, the Indian Air Force wrote a letter to the Censor Board objecting to its undue negative portrayal. A number of IAF officers, including Gunjan’s coursemate, have claimed that officers have been misrepresented. Nonetheless, students of cinema would know that any story script essentially examines human relationships which forms the pivot. The rest of the script is woven to illustrate the evolution of these relationships. So does Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl!
How XXX Uncensored mutated a rape threat to Ekta Kapoor
Producer Ekta Kapoor and her ALT Balaji web series XXX Uncensored got mired in a controversy that managed to create a storm on social media against her. If you don’t know already, the erotic-drama that streamed on ALTBalaji was under fire for a steamy scene that hurt the sentiments of the public, especially that of Bigg Boss 13 contestant Hindustani Bhau. It all began when two police complaints were lodged against her for humiliating and disrespecting the Indian Army through a scene in the episode of her web series. While people have the right to raise their voices against what they deem inappropriate, threats of rape and molestation and mass trolling are in no way justified.
Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives was not so fabulous
The show revolves around the four titular women’s privileged interconnected lives and how they deal with their ups and downs. They actively made the decision to put up their lives for public scrutiny considering themselves to be the queens! There was the many splash of Gucci and glamour, B-town celebrity cameos including Shah Rukh Khan himself, dramatic overkill for the camera, and outrageous comments to raise your eyebrows that received a deadly backlash from trolls. Cyber-bullies termed it as loud, at times bitchy and over-the-top, and almost no interesting insight into the lives of these Bollywood wives. The show kept everyone wondering: Where’s the entertainment? Love it or loathe it, but there’s no ignoring the women starring in the show.
Sadak 2 boycott
Mahesh Bhatt remains controversy’s favorite child with his proclivity to ruffle a feather or two. But at the beginning of 2020, he was waded into a big row at what appears to be the most inopportune time in his illustrious career. Returning to the silver screen as a director for the first time in more than two decades with Sadak 2, ideally it should have been a cause for a big celebration. But the film was brutally trolled and never welcomed for the return of Bhatt or for that matter, its cinematic merits. Worse, the film’s trailer that released on August 12 became the most disliked trailer and second-most disliked video ever on YouTube in the world! The primary reason behind the tsunami of dislikes for the film apparently was Bhatt’s open support to actress Rhea Chakraborty, whose boyfriend Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead under mysterious circumstances. This left Bhatt’s ambitious comeback movie mired in an unsavory controversy that the filmmaker himself might not have wished for at this juncture regardless of his usual liking for anything that kicks up a storm.
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