Seeking blessings at a shrine or temple before a film’s release is a yesterday thing in Bollywood. The new trend — full-fledged promotional activities at religious places. Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar along with lead actor Kareena Kapoor decided to launch the music of his forthcoming film, Heroine, at Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai on Thursday, and no points for guessing the outcome — a stampede-like situation followed by a quick exit of the stars. This comes soon after filmmaker Ekta Kapoor caused controversy when she offered music CDs of Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum at Ajmer Sharif Dargah before the film’s release.
“As far as they come here as devotees, we have no issues as they are here to seek blessings. They are like any other visitor to us,” says Mangesh Shinde,executive officer of the Siddhivinayak Temple. However, he says, using a holy premise for promotional activities is not acceptable, fiercely denying the temple’s involvement in a music launch. “We did not give any permission for any commercial activity or music launch. They never played music in the temple — whatever was suppose to happen was outside the temple’s premise so saying that music launch has happened in the temple would be wrong.”
While Bhandarkar chose not to comment on the matter and Ekta Kapoor earlier defended her visit by saying, “there are crores like me who go there,” many feel there’s a fine line between offering prayers and ‘commercialising’ a visit, which may put a holy centre’s sanctity at threat.
“It is fine when Bollywood people come uninformed. It is only when their PR managers let out the
word that chaos is bound to happen,” says Peer Badruddin of Shaikh Salim Chishti Dargah at Fatehpur Sikri, which is frequented by Bollywood stars. Gangs of Wasseypur producer Sunil Bohra seconds that: “We all offer prayers and it’s okay, sometimes the word goes out. But promoting your visit and your film through it is not.”
Kat, who often visits holy shrines to pray for the success of her films, was last seen at the Shaikh Salim Chishti Dargah in Fatehpur Sikri. She arrived at 6am and returned after performing a few rituals and untying the ‘mannat ka dhaga’ (wish thread) that she had tied on an earlier visit.
Late last month, actor Bipasha Basu was presented with a Lord Hanuman frame during her visit to the Kale Hanuman Temple in Jaipur for promotions of her upcoming film, Raaz 3. A big mob reportedly gathered outside the temple, posing security issues.
Last week, Madhur Bhandarkar and Kareena Kapoor visited the Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai for a music launch of their film Heroine, even as temple authorities say no permission for a commercial activity was sought.
Filmmaker Ekta Kapoor angered many a cleric at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah after she offered CDs of Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum before the film’s release. The dargah dewan, Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, had objected to the act.