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Here is a list of instances that proved that Bollywood once had a spine and stood up for justice:

1. Dev Anand publicly spoke against the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi

When Dev Anand publicly protested against the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, he was banned from broadcasting his movies and songs which featured him on Doordarshan and All India Radio. But he didn’t stop there and kept on protesting.

Bollywood Stood Up For Justice

2. Manoj Kumar’s protest against the Emergency

Manoj Kumar was another famous actor who publicly defied the Emergency. He even filed a complaint against the government and won the court case after they tried to stall his upcoming movies. He even refused to work for a pro-Emergency documentary film.

Bollywood Stood Up For Justice

3. Kishore Kumar’s protest against the Emergency

Even though Kishore Kumar knew the consequences of banning his songs and films from getting broadcasted, he turned down the then I&B Minister VC Shukla for performing at the Youth Congress Rally and participating in ads promoting Sanjay Gandhi’s 20-point Economic Programme.

Bollywood Stood Up For Justice

4. Shabana Azmi’s protest against the murder of Safdar Hashmi during the 12th International Film Festival in 1989.

Safdar Hashmi, an anti-authoritarian playwright, died the next day after he and his troupe were attacked by Congress thugs. Shabana Azmi protested by spreading leaflets to the audience and also read them out on the stage. She even called out the suspect who might have organised the attack even though the man was sitting in the audience. The culprit was jailed after 14 years.

5. K. Hangal’s imprisonment for being a communist

Avtar Krishan Hangal, born in 1917, was an Indian actor who spent three years in jail in Karachi before coming to Bombay in 1949. Being a member of the Communist Party, he had to face a lot of ups and downs in his career. He was even allowed to leave the jail to finish shooting for certain movies.

Bollywood Stood Up For Justice

6. Balraj Sahni’s refusal to apologise for his activism and criticism against the government and spent 2 years in jail

In 1949, was jailed for his indignant attack on the government by writing for the Indian People’s Theatre Association. He was even offered to get bail if he apologised, but he refused and spent two years in jail.

Bollywood Stood Up For Justice

7. Danny Denzongpa’s role in the protest against the Emergency

Danny Denzongpa joined forces with Dev Anand, Manoj Kumar, and other Bollywood actors to raise their voices against the Emergency. Danny Denzongpa even called out the illegitimate ways of the Emergency.

Bollywood Stood Up For Justice

8. Pran Krishan Sikand’s protest against the Emergency

The Emergency era truly depicted the strength of the Bollywood industry. Pran Krishan Sikand, a well-known movie villain, showed his humanity and patriotism by protesting against the Emergency and the government.

Bollywood Stood Up For Justice

9. Majrooh Sultanpuri criticising Nehru through poetry

Majrooh Sultanpuri, the famous film songwriter, was jailed in 1949 for writing a poem criticising Jawaharlal Nehru and his government policies. When he was asked to apologize to get bail, even he refused and preferred being jailed for two years.

Bollywood Stood Up For Justice

10. Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s bold move by snacking in-jokes about the Emergency in his films

Hrishikesh Mukherjee protested against the Emergency and even snuck in-jokes about it in his film which was indeed a very bold move. He even protested against the ruling powers during the Emergency.

Bollywood Stood Up For Justice

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