Box office disaster: Bollywood speaks up against #boycott trends

This year has seen an abundance of Bollywood films failing at the hands of public-demand boycotts or bans. Empty cinemas, low numbers at the box office, hype-marketing tactics to no avail. It seems like the audience has taken control over what stories they want to watch versus what the filmmakers think they should watch.

From Ranbir Kapoor’s Shamshera to Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor’s Laal Singh Chaddha to Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan, censorship has taken a new face in Bollywood and fans are not willing to compromise, even for a widely popular, star-studded cast. The boycott trend comes after a deep dive into celebrities’ past statements, means of popularity and their current standing. And of course, such negativity has taken a toll on filmmakers and actors, many of whom have recently hit back at the cancel culture.

Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan

After 14 years in the making, Aamir’s film Laal Singh Chaddha, a remake of Tom Hanks’ iconic Forrest Gump, was released on August 11. The highly anticipated movie was hyped for not one but many reasons. However, all of that tanked when social media users brought up some controversial statements made by Aamir in the past. The PK actor apologised but also added that since the film’s been a long time in making, there are hundreds of people who deserve their work to be seen.

Aamir’s co-star Kareena had the opposite reaction. Having full faith in the storyline and in freedom of speech, she said in a media interaction, “If you don’t like our films, don’t watch our films.” Later, in conversation with RJ Siddharth Kannan, she added, ”It’s a film and it’s going to be released and everyone will have their opinion. If it’s a good film, I believe that it will surpass anything. I think that good films surpass anything.”

Akshay Kumar

Akshay’s film Raksha Bandhan sees him as an adorable brother of four sisters however, his film too, started trending on Twitter with a boycott hashtag. Reacting to that, he told Hindustan Times, “People are smart enough to understand what is wrong and what is right. I would just request them, don’t do such mischief, it’s not good and it hurts every industry. When a film is made, there is a lot of money and hard work into it, it affects the economy of India and we actually indirectly are hurting ourselves only and I hope people realise this soon.”

Suniel Shetty

Actor Suniel Shetty also weighed in on the boycott trend in conversation with the Times of India. “It’s unfair. We all work hard. We all aim to do well and our intentions are good. Aamir Khan’s intentions have always been good. He is somebody who could have chosen five films a year, but he chose to do one film in five years and I think we need to respect that. As far as Akshay Kumar goes, there is a continuous effort in wanting to do something and deliver entertaining films. We are entertainers and we go by public choice also,” he asserted.

Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu

A rather sarcastic take on the trend was director Anurag Kashyap and actor Taapsee Pannu who said they now want their films to be boycotted too. “I’m feeling left out. I even maintain that my film should be boycotted. Please make it a trend on Twitter,” Taapsee told News18.

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