Among other things, this was also the year of political incorrectness.
In an interview following the promotions for his movie Sultan, Salman Khan was talking about the hectic shooting schedule for the filming of the movie, in which he plays a wrestler. While talking about how gruelling the shoot was, Salman was quoted saying, “While shooting, during those six hours, there’d be so much of lifting and thrusting on the ground involved. When I used to walk out of the ring, after the shoot, I used to feel like a raped woman. I couldn’t walk straight.” While the actor insisted that the media had selectively quoted him and refused to apologise for it, his father Salim Khan filled in for his (man) child.
Talking about the acts of growing intolerance in the country during the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards, Aamir Khan expressed alarm and said a sense of insecurity and fear has seeped deep within the society. He also said that his wife, Kiran Rao, has suggested moving out of the country. And so, very soon, news started to spread that the Centre had removed him as the brand ambassador of the Incredible India campaign under the Tourism Ministry. However, Mahesh Singh, MoS, Tourism, clarified stating that the government had a contract with the advertising agency McCann Worldgroup and Aamir Khan was signed with them. The agreement with the media agency was terminated post the completion of the project and so was Aamir Khan’s association with the campaign. According to a recently released book, it was a conscious move on part of the government to oust him.
All India Bakchod co-founder Tanmay Bhat found himself in the middle of a political drama when he posted a Snapchat video in May using the app’s face-swap feature, where he superimposed his face over Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar. Titled ‘Sachin v/s Lata Civil War’, it was shown to be a petty fight between the two Maharashtrian heavyweights. The video drew unprecedented backlash what with celebrities and Twitterati condemning the spoof for taking on the two celebrated names. Anupam Kher, Riteish Deshmukh among others expressed their disappointment. Shiv Sena, MNS and BJP were quick to jump into the fray demanding an apology from Tanmay. He kept away from the hullabaloo, of course, and interestingly so did his muses.
George Orwell’s 1945 popular novella Animal Farm is a dystopian allegory for the rise of Stalinism. In the novella, an animal revolution eventually results in the rise of a corrupt elite — which everyone knows. However, Shilpa Shetty had a classic faux pas when she said that Animal Farm can be used to teach children about caring for animals. Following this, the Twitterati responded with #ShilpaShettyReviews where they summarised books by guessing the plot from their titles.
Shobhaa De drew much ire when during the Rio Olympic Games, she posted a tweet that read, “Goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao. Selfies lo. Khaali haat wapas aao. What a waste of money and opportunity.” Many lashed out at the socialite/writer for the discouraging words. Unhinged by the backlash at first, Shobhaa was quick to get into damage control mode when she congratulated PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik. It did little to wash away the faux pas though.
This wasn’t the first that Shobhaa had her foot in her mouth this year. Earlier in April when Prince William and Kate Middleton were visiting the country, there was a lot of talk about the Duchess of Cambridge’s wardrobe. Shobhaa wrote in her opinion column, “Kate has skipped wearing a saree. Her waist is perfect for crinoline ball gowns from Gone with the Wind. But a saree needs curves. A saree demands a derriere. Kate has none.” This time she stood by her words despite the ‘body shaming’ accusations.
Following the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil controversy, senior Bollywood actor Om Puri made a statement that infuriated a lot of people. Reacting to the ban of Pakistani artistes in India after the Uri attacks, the actor defended Pakistani artistes. During a heated argument on a news channel, he blurted out, “We didn’t force the soldiers to join the army.” The actor was branded ‘anti-national’ by a large section of the film fraternity and general public.
While 2016 was an overall good year for Priyanka Chopra professionally, she got herself in quite a controversy two months ago. The 34-year-old actress was featured on the cover of the October issue of a traveller magazine wearing a white T-shirt with the words ‘refugee’, ‘immigrant’ and ‘outsider’ crossed out in red, and left only the word ‘traveller’. In no time, the message on her T-shirt sparked a flurry of criticism on Twitter with tweets accusing her of belittling the plight of refugees forced to leave their homes.