Prakash Jha‘s Gangaajal has aged like a fine wine. Released in 2003, the film still holds several relevant points which are hard-hitting. It has a perfect blend of cinematic liberty and rawness of Indian politics’ ground reality. On top of that, Ajay Devgn and the supporting cast made this brilliantly looking film a cult classic.
Just with a glimpse, any cine buff would be able to say that this film has some influences taken from real-life incidents. One pronounced example is a scene in which police pours acid into the eyes of individuals under trial. The scene is based on 1979 and 1980’s Bhagalpur blindings. Similarly, there’s one resemblance which had landed the film in a big controversy.
Gangaajal revolves around a corrupt politician of Bihar named Sadhu Yadav played by Mohan Joshi. Interestingly, the name resembled with then chief minister Rabri Devi’s brother and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA’s name. Upon the film’s release, Sadhu’s supports had alleged the makers of ill faming their leader by using his name for a negative character.
With Bihar being the hotspot of politics, it was obvious that Gangaajal would have to go through an acid test. Veena and Apsara cinema of Patna were vandalised by Sadhu Yadav’s supporters, due to which the screening came to a halt for one week. Post the entire row, RJD’s founder and husband of Rabri Devi, Lalu Prasad Yada met Prakash Jha and cleared that there’s nothing objectionable in the film.
After Lalu’s green signal, Sadhu Yadav too stated that the film has nothing to do with him. So, after one week’s stay, the Ajay Devgn starrer finally saw a resumption of its shows in Veena and Apsara cinema. And interestingly, the film actually witnessed a huge response after all the violence that took place. In fact, people even purchased tickets through black marketing.
Now, that’s one of the many cases where the film has been benefitted by controversy.
Gangaajal collected around 11 crores in its theatrical run. Apart from Ajay Devgn and Mohan Joshi, it also features Gracy Singh, Mukesh Tiwari, Daya Shankar Pandey and Yashpal Sharma.