It can be said that Mirzapur 2’s entry has been very controversial. The #boycottmirzapur started trending on Twitter, hours after its trailer was released. It is not the first time netizens are demanding a boycott. It has been a continuous demand for multiple films and series. A question arises, are we really just or just intolerant?
As the trailer of Mirzapur 2 was launched #boycottmirzapur hashtag took over Twitter. While one section of netizens was infuriated about the participation of Ali Faizal and Farhan Akhtar in the Mirzapur 2 series. The other section supported it expressing their excitement.
It is not the first time when there is a demand for a boycott by netizens. In 2020 itself, there have been demands of banning more than seven movies and series. In almost each case, the demand for a boycott is driven by the personal stand of an actor, writer or director on a nationwide issue.
Remember when Aamir Khan expressed his wife’s views about leaving India because of the country’s increasing intolerant nature? The actor was quickly asked to leave the country and people started boycotting his films. As a result, his film Fanaa was banned in Gujarat for criticising the Gujarat government.
This is what he said, “When I chat with Kiran at home, she says ‘should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day.”
The King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan also spoke out about growing intolerance in India back in 2015. He was not spared from the criticism too.
He said, “There is intolerance, there is extreme intolerance, I think there is growing intolerance.It is stupid to be intolerant and this is our biggest issue, not just an issue. Religious intolerance and not being secular in this country is the worst kind of crime that you can do as a patriot.”
Why is Mirzapur 2 being criticised ?
The ‘boycott culture’ has been spreading in India. After multiple multi-starrer movies, Mirzapur 2 is under criticism because of Ali Faizal and Farhan Akhtar’s opinions on the nationwide anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests that took place at the end of 2019.
At the time when the protests were happening, lead actor of Mirzapur, Abu Faizal used one of the dialogues of his character, Guddu, to express his opinion on the matter. The Mirzapur trailer contained the dialogue tweeted by him and is now being criticised by netizens. The actor has deleted all his tweets that were made before April 2020, but a screenshot of one of his tweets is doing rounds on twitter.
Farhan Akhtar has been criticised multiple times too for his opinion about the CAA protests that happened in India. He is one of the executive producers of the second season of the show and is now under scrutiny for his opinions.
Therefore, the #BoycottMirzapur2 .
‘The Boycotted’ of 2020
Boycotting a cinematic piece or demanding to stop its release does not essentially only affect the star cast, the directors and the producers. It also effects the people who work hard and for long hours backstage.
Some movies and series which were affected by the budding ‘boycott culture’ in India this year include, Chapaak, Thappad, Sadak 2, Rasbhari, Laxmmi Bomb, Takht and Laal Singh Chaddha. Some of these movies are yet to release and the others faced heavy controversies and scrutiny when they came out.
Deepika Padukone’s visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi to express solidarity with students of the varsity was called a publicity stunt to promote the movie. The boycott cry took a turn when people started claiming to have cancelled the movie ticket and posting its screenshot on twitter. The movie about the life of an acid attack survivor, Laxmi Agarwal, was released on January 10, 2020 and has earned a total estimate of 55 crores so far, much less than other movies starred by Deepika.
After being praised for its strong message of intolerable domestic violence and the importance and need of standing up for yourself, the movie was criticised heavily. This came after the movie’s lead actress, Taapsee Pannu was seen taking part in a non-violent protest opposing CAA. Dia Mirza, Anurag Kashyap and Zoya Akhtar also took a part in the protests, facing tremendous backlash from netizens. The movie released on February 28, 2020 earned an estimated amount of Rs 44 crore at the box office.
After the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Bollywood has been widely criticised. The issue of nepotism, scuttling the chances of outsiders and a monopoly of the big names in Bollywood has come up and the Bhatt family has been at the receiving end since the beginning of it. After Mahesh Bhatt released the poster of ‘Sadak 2’ in June 2020 starring daughters Alia Bhatt and Pooja Bhatt, netizens took it upon themselves to make sure the movie does not do good. The trailer of the movie was showered with dislikes from the moment it was released, it currently has 13 million dislikes. The movie released on July 10, 2020 only made an estimated income of Rs 6.25 crores.
The series on Amazon Prime Video has been in talks since its trailer was released. The platform known for largely publicising its original series before release was eerily quiet when it came to this one. Swara Bhasker the lead actress in the eight-episode series is mostly surrounded with criticism due to her political views and outspokenness. The show although was criticised for its portrayal of sexual desires and explicit scenes. The netizens called the film ‘misleading’ and ‘inappropriate’, to which Swara Bhasker replied saying, “It is what people actual think about women”. The IMDb rating of this show stands at 2.8 out of 10, with 70 percent voting for the lowest possible score, one.
Amidst the scrutiny Bollywood is facing for drug abuse, Akshay Kumar, who is the lead actor in the movie posted a video on his official twitter account on October 3, 2020. In the video he addressed the prevailing drug problem in Bollywood. He requested people not to generalise and think that every person associated with Bollywood has drug links. He also pointed out that negative news can have a negative impact on a person’s reputation and career. This did not appease the twitter users and a ban was called on upon his upcoming movie ‘Laxmmi Bomb’. The movie is yet to be released on November 9, 2020 and has already earned criticism from the audience.
Karan Johar’s film ‘Takht’ landed in trouble when twitter started slamming the writer of the movie, Hussain Haidry for defamation of Hindus. While Hussain’s twitter account has been locked, screenshots of his tweets have been circulating. Since Karan Johar is the producer and director of the film, majority of the tweets are directed towards him. The netizens have demanded removal of Hussain from the ‘Takht’ team or else they will boycott the film. The movie is set to release in December this year.
Laal Singh Chaddha
The movie starred by Aamir Khan received criticism when the actor met Turkish First Lady, Emine Erdogen this year. The international relations between India and Turkey haven’t been the best lately. The actor met Erdogen while he was shooting for the movie to discuss his Paani Foundation. Once already criticised for his wife’s concerns over the growing intolerance in India, Aamir Khan is now being accused for siding with enemies. After the actor, netizens are now pouring their anger on the actor’s upcoming film, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’. The movie’s release date has not been confirmed yet.
There are many more movies and series which face criticism on the internet, but the new boycott culture have taken the criticism to a whole new level. By threatening to boycott whatever is disliked, are netizens curbing the freedom of speech and expression they are fighting for in the first place?
Tell us what you think.