‘MARCH’ING BACK | 20 March, 2020

Even as the film industry in India has come to a screeching halt in a bid to encourage social distancing to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus, it would be worth going down memory lane to recall what was happening in the glamour industry in March last year and before that.

Take a look:

March, 2019:

Luka Chuppi opened on 1st March and went on to become a hit.

Bala opened on 8th March and also proved a hit.

Kesari released on 21st March and became the biggest hit of Akshay Kumar till then. It netted a little over Rs. 150 crore in India.

• On 5th March last year, the Pakistan Supreme Court banned private television channels in the country from airing Indian films and TV shows in the wake of the then Indian air strikes on a terror camp in Balakot following the Pulwama terror attack in India.

• Six years after actress Jiah Khan’s alleged suicide in 2013, the trial in court began on 15th March, 2019.

March, 2018:

• Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan opened in China on 2nd March, grossing US $2.24 million on the opening day. The first week’s gross was a whopping $17.92 million (Rs. 117 crore)!

• Boney Kapoor went to Madras on 2nd March with ashes of wife Sridevi to immerse them in the sea opposite her beach house. The top actress drowned in a bath tub in a Dubai hotel on 24th February. Boney and Anil Kapoor went to Hardwar on 8th March to immerse her ashes in the Ganga.

• Irrfan Khan for the first time on 5th March tweeted about the “rare disease” he was suffering from. He later named the disease — NeuroEndocrine Tumour. The super-talented actor, after several surgeries, is still battling the rare disease.

• Actress Shammi breathed her last on 5th March, 2018.

Raid released on 16th March and this must’ve been the only raid which brought cheer in the trade.

Baaghi 2 opened on 30th March, 2018 to a thunderous response.

March, 2017:

• Columnist and humorist Tarak Mehta passed away on 1st March three years back. His creation, the extremely popular TV serial, Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma, even today continues to be the favourite of lakhs of people.

• Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania opened on 10th March three years ago, giving Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt yet another hit.

• Abbas-Mustan’s Machine opened in March and turned turkey at the box-office. It introduced Abbas’ son, Mustafa, in the lead role.

• Veteran music director J.P. Kaushik died on 14th March, 2017.

• Volunteers of the Rajput Karni Sena attacked the base camp of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s under-production film, Padmavati (it was later re-titled Padmaavat), and damaged the set and other shooting property worth Rs. 4 crore in protest against what they termed was distortion of Rajput history by Bhansali. On 18th March, they burnt effigies of the filmmaker in Jaipur.

• Akshay Kumar donated Rs. 1.08 crore to the kin of slain jawans in a Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh. Since there were 12 jawans who died, each family was given Rs. 9 lakh.

• Aishwarya Rai Bachchan lost her father on 18th March, 2017.

• Sunil Grover quit The Kapil Sharma Show allegedly because an inebriated Kapil slapped him on board a flight over an argument.

March, 2016:

• Indra Kumar’s Great Grand Masti, which was refused certificate by the CBFC, was cleared by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).

• Karan Johar’s Kapoor & Sons released in the third month of the year, four years ago. It turned out to be a hit.

• Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut sent each other legal notices in the case which went on to ugly depths. While Kangana claimed that she had had a relationship with Hrithik, the father of two denied the allegations.

• Sonu Nigam underwent knee surgery in March, 2016.

• Rajkumar Rao lost his mother on 10th March. Emraan Hashmi’s mother passed away on 11th March.

• Shah Rukh Khan’s father-in-law died on 1st March.

• Urmila Matondkar married Mohsin Akhtar Mir on 3rd March.

• On 2nd March, the Delhi high court dismissed a plea to ban Aligarh or have its title changed. A week earlier, the Aligarh mayor did not permit the Manoj Bajpayee starrer to release in Aligarh. The film was about a homosexual professor of Aligarh Muslim University, and it was felt by the mayor that its release in the city would send wrong signals.

March, 2015:

• A meeting of top producers and directors was held in Karan Johar’s office in March five years ago to discuss the industry’s stand on the prohibitively costly pre-release film promotion. At the meeting, it was decided to stop promoting films through hoardings. It was also decided to promote films for a maximum of six weeks only. Another decision taken at this meeting was that the cost of a star’s entourage on outdoor promotional tours would have to be borne by the star himself.

• Aamir Khan celebrated his 50th birthday on 14th March, 2015 at a grand party at Hilton Shillim Estate Resort & Spa near Lonavala. The party was attended by his close friends from the industry. Mukesh Ambani also marked his presence with his wife and children.

• Priyanka Chopra signed Quantico, her first television show in the USA.

• Rajkumar Hirani and his writer, Abhijat Joshi, started work on the script of Sanju on 28th March, 2015.

March, 1995:

What was the scene like 25 years ago?

• Actor Jalal Agha passed away in Delhi on 5th March, 1995. His body was brought to Bombay and his burial took place on 6th March. By an eerie coincidence, Jalal had gotten married on 5th March, 1976, according to Muslim customs. His wedding in Christian style had taken place on 6th March, 1976.

• On 10th March, 1995, the Delhi high court lifted its ban on Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen following a compromise reached at between bandit Phoolan Devi and the film’s producer, Bobby Bedi.

• Amitabh Bachchan’s poet-dad, Harivanshrai Bachchan, suddenly took ill on 16th March and had to be hospitalised. Bachchans’ Holi party and celebrations the next day were called off.

March, 1990:

And what all transpired 30 years ago?

• The popular music director team of Laxmikant-Pyarelal split on 15th March, 1990. Incidentally, it was Pyarelal’s birthday on 15th March. Of course, the two music geniuses patched up their differences within some days but the music world got a deadly shock on 15th March, 30 years ago.

• Anil Kapoor fractured his right foot on 29th March on the set of Madan Mohla’s Humlaa. The release of Anil’s Sanghursh was postponed because of his injury.