Bollywood film titles have often stirred up a hornet’s nest, compelling the makers to do a rethink. In the light of a controversy surrounding Ram Gopal Varma’s upcoming film named after veteran actress, Sridevi, we look at a few contentious film titles that were eventually modified
What’S in a name? Quite a lot, actually. Film titles have often landed their makers in trouble either for copying a registered one or, offending a person or a section of society.
Sridevi's producer-husband, Boney Kapoor has sent a legal notice to director Ram Gopal Varma for naming his upcoming film on the actress. Pic/Sameer Markande
Consequently, they have had to tweak it — or worse, change it completely. Ram Gopal Varma has kicked off a fresh controversy after Boney Kapoor slapped him with a legal notice for titling his upcoming film on his actress-wife, Sridevi’s name without permission.
The poster of the film, initially called Savitri, had already created an uproar as it showed a teenage boy staring at a woman’s navel. However, the filmmaker has refused to budge and while we await Sridevi’s next step, hitlist rewinds to some film titles that were completely changed or modified
Before: Ram Leela
After: Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela
Filmmaker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali was also caught in a difficult situation when six different petitioners had filed cases against his film’s title, Ram Leela starring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram-Leela was eventually titled Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela
They claimed that the name hurt religious sentiments of Hindus, who revere Lord Ram, and that it should be changed. While Bhansali tried to convince them that his film was neither based on any religion nor any character, it went in vain. He had to rename his film as Goliyon Ki Raasleela : Ram-Leela, just two days before the film released.
Before: Main Hoon Rajinikanth
After: Main Hoon Rajini
Superstar Rajinikanth had filed an interim injunction on the film’s title and its content after he felt it might defame him and upset his fan base.
Main Hoon Rajinikanth was modified to Main Hoon Rajini after the South Indian superstar dragged the makers to court for using his name
The film’s release was stopped and initially, director Faisal Saif had refused to change the title. However, the makers showed the film to Rajinikanth and his lawyers, with the superstar having the final word. Faisal Saif had said, “I had no option but to change its title to Main Hoon Rajini,” and added that he neither wanted his producers to suffer further losses due to the court case nor “hurt Rajini sir”.
Before: Rambo Rajkumar
Director Prabhu Dheva’s film starring Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha was earlier called Rambo Rajkumar.
Originally titled Rambo Rajkumar, director Prabhu Dheva had to change it to R...Rajkumar due to mounting pressure from Hollywood star, Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo franchise
However, the makers of famous Hollywood film Rambo featuring Sylvester Stallone warned the director of copyright issues. Prabhu Dheva then decided to modify the film title and, accordingly, the character’s name of his lead actor.
After: Madras Caf
John Abraham’s Madras Café was initially named Jaffna, a troublesome title as it is a civil war-torn city where many Sri Lankan Tamils reside.
Madras Cafe, starring John Abraham and Nargis Fakhri, was earlier named Jaffna
Director Shoojit Sircar avoided controversy by changing it to Madras Cafe, saying, “It was our working title and as we proceeded with the script, we thought Madras Café will be more apt.”
Before: Billu Barber
The word ‘barber’ had to be dropped from the film’s title following opposition from the Salon and Hairdressers’ Union.
Irrfan played a barber in the SRK-starrer, Billu
Shah Rukh Khan, who was also producing the film, decided to give in to their demand. In the film, Shah Rukh played a superstar while his childhood friend essayed by Irrfan Khan was a barber.
Vashu Bhagnani received a legal notice for his film from a cola brand, which ran a campaign with the same name.
It demanded a change of title with immediate effect.
Youngistaan featured Jackky Bhagnani and Neha Sharma
Youngistaan was finally allowed to keep its title on the condition that they had to run a disclaimer on the title credits, theatrical trailers and end slate in all their official digital media communications.
Prabhu Dheva’s upcoming film faced a hitch when Hollywood studio, Warner Bros opposed it saying their 1998 film featuring Carl Weathers and Sharon Stone had the same name.
Action Jackson stars Ajay Devgn and Sonakshi Sinha
It has the title rights even in the sub continent. However, producer of Action Jackson, Gordan Tanwani remains unperturbed as Warner Bros has sent a letter to Baba Arts Limited Production and Eros International, who are the joint producers of the film. He is yet to rework the title.