For the Indian Offence Brigade, there’s a lot in a name.
The course of true love never did run smooth. Neither does the course of some love stories, especially if they are being shot in India.
The latest to feel bumps along its ‘yatra’ is Loveyatri, Salman Khan’s home production venture that will launch his brother-in-law, Aayush Sharma.
Loveyatri, till September 19, was Loveratri. This was found unacceptable by some sensitive folks, who felt that the movie, shot around Navratri, would bring a bad name to the festival.
Two posters, one cautionary tale: Salman Khan well knows the dangers of getting on the wrong side of the wrong people. (Photo courtesy: Salman Khan Films)
Sentiments from Gujarat to Bihar were hurt, and one police complaint(Meethanpur, Bihar) and some threats (by VHP members, in Vadodara) later, Salman Bhai announced the change in the title of the movie.
However, this has not proved enough to smoothen the movie’s path. Ahmedabad-based Sanatan Foundation, which also moved a PILagainst the movie, has told the Gujarat High Court that the new name is “not acceptable” to it as it still rhymes with Navratri.
Lest you think the Foundation is a difficult bunch of people, the organisation has helpfully provided a title suggestion too: ‘Love Ki Yatra’, which, according to them, goes with the tagline of the film — ‘a journey of love’.
While Loveyatri’s journey is still uncertain, it is by no means the only movie to face such challenges.
Here are some other Indian movies that had to change their titles following unpopular demand.
The name that launched a thousand tiffs. Based on an epic by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati caused a furore of similarly epic proportions, with a group called the Karni Sena deciding the movie “hurt Rajput sentiments” without watching it, and several state governments giving in and banning the movie’s release.
The fictional tale led to a very real, very ugly drama. (Photo: YouTube screengrab)
After a battle that involved a few high courts, the Supreme Court, historians, threats to cut off Bhansali’s head and Deepika Padukone’s nose, and the censor board demanding an ‘I’ for its aye, the movie was finally released as Padmaavat, and went on to earn a record-breaking Rs 500 crore.
S Durga, a Malayalam movie that won awards at various international film festivals last year, originally made its appearance as Sexy Durga.
However, the censor board refused to clear the name, and the maker Sanal Kumar Sasidharan finally decided to change the ‘Sexy’ to just ‘S’.
The movie led to a debate on whether controversies serve as an easy way to publicity. (Photo: YouTube screengrab)
While many people protested against this “moral policing” by the censor board, the controversy also led to a debate about why the movie was named so at all — when the lead character was a North Indian girl whose name or “sexiness” had nothing to do with the movie’s plot — and if the controversial name, and then the furore, was just a way to get the movie some publicity.
While many members of ‘The Offence Brigade’, usually seen leading charges against movies, decry the “poisoning influence” of western culture on Indian society, at times, the western world too makes an appearance to register grievances.
The change in name could not change the fortunes of this movie. (Photo: YouTube screengrab)
R…Rajkumar, a 2013 Shahid Kapoor-Sonakshi Sinha starrer, was initially named Rambo Rajkumar.
However, the makers of the original Rambo movies, featuring Sylvester Stallone, objected to it, and not just the movie’s title, but also the name of the lead character, played by Shahid Kapoor, had to be changed to placate them.
The title of this Shah Rukh Khan production had to be snipped from the original Billu Barber after professional barbers objected to it.
The Salon and Beauty Parlors Association had earlier suggested that the name be changed to Billu Hairdresser, as ‘hairdresser’ did not have the “derogatory and insulting” connotations that ‘barber’ did.
SRK snipped the title of the movie after protests from barber asoociations. (Photo: YouTube screengrab)
SRK, however, decided to stay away from professions altogether, and called his movie ‘Billu’.
This, however, did not end the movie’s troubles, and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena later protested against its song Marjaani, apparently because it had “objectionable words” in it.
What name Loveyatri finally releases under, and how this controversy impacts the movie’s prospects remains to be seen. But in the theatre of the absurd that is the Indian Offence Industry, the show is always going on.