Leo, the latest film starring Thalapathy Vijay in the titular role, has been making waves at the box office since its release on October 19, 2023. The film, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj and produced by Seven Screen Studio, is the third installment in the Lokesh Cinematic Universe (LCU) and is inspired by A History of Violence (2005), which was an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. The film also features Sanjay Dutt, Arjun, Trisha, Madonna Sebastian, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Mysskin, Mansoor Ali Khan, George Maryan, Priya Anand and Mathew Thomas in pivotal roles.
The film has been hailed as a commercial blockbuster, breaking several records and surpassing many expectations. According to trade analysts, the film has grossed over Rs 400 crore worldwide in just five days of its release, making it Vijay’s highest-grossing film ever. The film has also achieved the feat of being the first Tamil film to cross Rs 100 crore in Kerala and Rs 50 crore in Karnataka. The film has also performed well in overseas markets such as the USA, UK, Australia, UAE, and Singapore. The film has also been released in IMAX format in select theatres, adding to its appeal and revenue.
However, the film has also faced its share of controversies and criticisms from various quarters. The film has been accused of plagiarism, misogyny, violence, and political propaganda by some sections of the audience and the media.
Some of the major controversies surrounding the film are:
- The plagiarism controversy: The film has been alleged to be a rip-off of A History of Violence, a Hollywood film directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen. The film’s plot revolves around a man who lives a peaceful life with his family until his past as a violent gangster catches up with him. The similarities between Leo and A History of Violence are evident in many scenes, characters, and dialogues. However, Lokesh Kanagaraj has denied copying the film and claimed that he was only inspired by it. He also said that he had taken permission from the makers of A History of Violence before making Leo.
- The cuss word controversy: The film’s trailer sparked controversy when Vijay’s character Parthi uttered a cuss word while talking to his wife Sathya, played by Trisha. The word was considered to be derogatory and disrespectful towards women by some netizens who demanded an apology from the makers. Lokesh Kanagaraj took responsibility for the word and said that it was not Vijay who uttered it but his character Parthi. He also said that the word was used to show Parthi’s frustration and anger at that moment.
- The violence controversy: The film has been criticized for glorifying violence and bloodshed in many scenes. The film shows Parthi killing several people with guns, knives, and other weapons without any remorse or consequence. Some critics have also pointed out that the film does not explore the psychological impact of violence on Parthi or his family. The film has also been accused of promoting gun culture and normalizing violence among the youth.
- The political controversy: The film has been speculated to be a launchpad for Vijay’s political career as it contains many references and hints to his political aspirations. The film’s title Leo is said to be derived from Vijay’s zodiac sign Leo, which is also associated with leadership qualities. The film also shows Parthi rescuing animals and helping people in need, which are seen as signs of his social service. The film also features a dialogue where Parthi says that he will not join politics but will support anyone who does good for the people. Some critics have also alleged that the film is indirectly targeting the ruling DMK government in Tamil Nadu as it portrays them as corrupt and oppressive.
Highest Day 1 Worldwide Gross Of The Year For An Indian Film
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Despite these controversies, Leo has managed to win over millions of fans who have praised Vijay’s performance, Lokesh Kanagaraj’s direction, Anirudh Ravichander’s music, and Manoj Paramahamsa’s cinematography. The film has also received positive reviews from some critics who have appreciated its action sequences, twists and turns, humor, and emotions. The film has also been supported by many celebrities from the Tamil film industry who have congratulated Vijay and Lokesh Kanagaraj for their success.
Leo is undoubtedly one of the biggest hits of 2023 and a milestone in Vijay’s career. However, it is also one of the most controversial films of recent times that has sparked debates and discussions among the audience and the media. Whether one loves it or hates it, Leo is a film that cannot be ignored or forgotten easily.