Many Indian films that indulge in strong language, suggestive scenes, gender taboos, Kashmir issues and religion banned by censor board but not that the viewers missed any of it! Here’s a list of movies which the censor board banned:
Neel Akasher Neechey (1959)
Neel Akasher Neechey (Bengali: নীল আকাশের নীচে Nil akasher niche, “Under the Blue Sky”) is a 1959 Bengali language film directed by Mrinal Sen, starring Kali Bannerjee, Manju Dey, Bikash Roy and others.
Set in the background of the last days of the British Raj in Calcutta, the film explores the lives of a number of characters, including the platonic relationship between an immigrant Chinese wage worker, Wang Lu, and the main female character called Basanti. The film had overt political overtones and was the first film to be banned by the Government of India. The ban was effective for two years. It showed the troubles faced by an immigrant Chinese wage laborer in 1930s Calcutta.
Directed by : Mrinal Sen
Produced by : Hemanta Bela Production
Written by: Based on short story “Chini Feriwala” written by Padmabibhushan Mahadevi Barma
Starring : Kali Banerjee, Manju Dey, Bikash Roy, Smriti Biswas, Suruchi Sengupta, Ajit Chatterjee and Rasaraj Chatterjee
Music by : Hemanta Mukhopadhyay
This story revolves around the political situation of Calcutta in 1930 when freedom fighting movement is going on in its full phase . Young and old, from lower middle class to upper class people are affected by it, including housewives. Basanti, a house-wife,works for freedom fighting for the whole day. Her husband, a renowned lawyer, doesn’t like his wife’s work. His upper class society can’t take it easily, but he can’t prevent his wife.He likes to gift his wife costly, fashionable dresses, but Basanti returns all the gifts as she has boycotted foreign goods . Wang lu, a Chinese man, lawles sille ?clothes of ebiana ? Basically, poor and not happy Wang faced with his illucle ?after an incident-the zamindar saw hi younger sister planned ? to capture her ?. He demanded for tax from Wang lu and gave him chance fora few times. Wang lu, tried to get the money by over -work, and got fever. His sister went to the zamindar with her only jewellery, a gold chain with locket. The zamindar, didnt accept it, but got his due by raping her.She returned home, only to get insulted farther by her brother. She left home, forever. Wang lu, tried to search for her, but failed. He left his country and came to India, started his own small business there. Wang lu meets Basanti , he takes her as his own lost sister. Their relationship makes Basanti come to him and begs pardon on behalf of her husband. She comes to know about his lost sister. She and her husband feels pity for him. Ot that day, police arrests Basanti and sends her to jail for three years . It is now 1936, her ? between chiana any japan goes on ?. Wang, inspired by Basanti decides to return to his own country. But he has some pending work. so he goes to Basanti’s house. She is released. They meet again. Wang feels anout ? his decision and gives Basanti,his sister’s chain and locket. Wang catches his ship for China, Basanti gives him farewell.
Garam Hawa (1973)
The release was held up by the censors for 8 months. The film depicted a Muslim family during the partition of India.
Garam Hawa (Hot Winds) was the first feature from director M.S. (Mysore Shrivinas) Sathyu of India. The film was controversial from its inception, as it was the first film to deal with the human consequences resulting from the 1947 partition of India. This action, ordered by British Lord Mountbatten, split India into religious coalitions, with India remaining Hindi and the new country of Pakistan serving as a refuge for Muslims.
Despite its controversial subject matter the film was initially accepted by a commercial producer, but then pressure and fear of the critical and governmental reception of such a work led to a rapid withdrawal of the offer. Sathyu turned to the government sponsored Film Financing Corporation (FFC) for support. This agency was created as an alternative for filmmakers seeking financing for work which was not commercially embraced by institutional distributors. Its aim was to free these artists from the dominance of loan agencies and their control of film content. Sathyu secured FFC financing and his film, based on an unpublished story by Marxist activist Ismat Chughtai, was completed in the city of Agra. The production of the film was plagued by a smattering of public protests; ultimately, Sathyu had to divert attention from his actual locations by using a fake second unit crew and sending them out with an unloaded camera.
Once finished, Garam Hawa was again the subject of controversy; it was banned as an “instigation to communal dissension.” Sathyu was strong in his conviction, however, and he showed the film to many government leaders and journalists. The influence of these people on the censorship board led to a reversal of the ban. The film went on to win a national award for its contribution to “national integration.” More recognition followed, including accolades that praised the film’s efforts to create “a language of common identity” and to humanize the situation endured by Muslims in North India who did not wish to move from their homes after the partition.
Producer: Ishan Arya, M.S. Sathyu, Abu Siwani; screenplay: Kaifi Azmi, Shama Zaidi, from the unpublished story by Ismat Chugtai; photography: Ishan Arya; editor: S. Chakrabort; music: Ustad Bahadur Khan.
Cast: Balraj Sahni ( Salim Mirza ); Gita Shauhat Kaifi ( Amina Mirza ); Jalal Agha ( Shamshad ); Dinanath Zutski ( Halim ); Badar Begum ( Salim’s mother ); Abu Siwani ( Baqar Mirza ); Faroukh Shaikh ( Sikander Mizra ); Jamal Hashmi ( Kazim ).
Awards: National Award for Best Film on Integration and Best Screenplay, India, 1974; Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay and Best Story Writer, India, 1974.
It was banned during Emergency by Indira Gandhi and subsequently released in 1977 after Janata Party came into power.
Aandhi (Hindi: आंधी, Storm) is a 1975 Indian political drama film starring Sanjeev Kumar and Suchitra Sen, and directed by Gulzar. At the time it was alleged that the film was based on the life of the then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her relationship with her estranged husband, but in reality, only the look was inspired by the politician Tarkeshwari Sinha and Indira Gandhi. The story is based on a chance meeting of an estranged couple after several years, when wife Aarti Devi, now a leading politician happens to stay in the hotel run by her husband during an election campaign. The movie is noted for its songs composed by Rahul Dev Burman, written by Gulzar and sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar.
Suchitra Sen, the noted actress from Bengali cinema, who also worked in a few Hindi films, played the lead role of Aarti Devi after actress Vyjayanthimala refused the film as she had reservations about enacting the role.
The movie was not allowed a full release when Mrs. Gandhi was in power. The film was banned during the national emergency of 1975 a few months after its release. The ban immediately made the film a national topic. After her defeat in the 1977 national elections, the ruling Janata Party cleared it and had it premiered on the state-run television channel.
It proved to be an important film in the career of Sen, and also her last Hindi film, as she retired from films altogether in 1978. At the 23rd Filmfare Awards, she was nominated for Filmfare Best Actress Award, while Sanjeev Kumar won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. The film itself won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie.
Kissa Kursi Ka (Tale of Throne) is a 1977 Hindi film directed by Amrit Nahata, who was a member of Indian parliament and produced by Badri Prasad Joshi. The film was a satire on the politics of Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi.
A political spoof, the film was banned by the Congress government for lampooning the Emergency. The master prints and all copies was lifted from the Censor Board office and burned by Sanjay Gandhi supporters. The movie was later remade with a different cast.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
A skirmish in Shanghai puts archaeologist Indiana Jones, his partner Short Round and singer Willie Scott crossing paths with an Indian village desperate to reclaim a rock stolen by a secret cult beneath the catacombs of an ancient palace. It was banned temporarily for its “negative” depiction of Indians. The ban was later rescinded.
Pati Parmeshwar (1987)
It was denied a rating by the Censor for depicting a woman in “ignoble servility” of her husband. Later, Bombay High Court allowed its release.
The film was completed in 1993. As it had Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination as a backdrop, it was not released until 2007.
Bandit Queen (1994)
Bandit Queen was straight up ‘offensive’, ‘vulgar’, ‘indecent’ and almost laughed at the cinematic conservatism of the Indian censor board. The subject was such. Based on the life of Phoolan Devi, this Shekhar Kapur movie was banned due its explicit sexual content, nudity and abusive language, which the Censor Board could not (obviously) digest.
Deepa Mehta’s work is recognised for its global content and appeal. However, closer home, that translates to controversy. Among others, one such movie was ‘Fire’ which garnered a lot of critical acclaim worldwide but failed to impress Hindu groups (like Shiv Sena) in India due to its subject, which dealt with lesbian relationship between two sisters-in-laws in a Hindu family. The controversy ended with the leading actors, Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das along with their director Deepa Mehta receiving death threats and Censor Board finally banning the movie in the country.
Kama Sutra – A Tale Of Love (1996)
In a rather hypocritical move, Kama Sutra – A Tale Of Love too faced the wrath of Censor Board which termed it ‘explicit’, ‘unethical’ and ‘immoral’ for the audiences of the nation which came up with the concept of Kama Sutra! This Mira Nair movie, which depicted the lives of four lovers in the 16th century in India, was a hit with the critics but a major flop with the Censor Board and ultimately got banned. We did see it coming.
Urf Professor (2000)
Another movie to run into trouble with the Censor Board was Pankaj Advani’s Urf Professor starring Manoj Pahwa, Antara Mali and Sharman Joshi. The movie traces the journey of the protagonist after a hit-man’s car and a winning lottery ticket goes missing and the chaos that follows. However, what irked the Censor Board were the ‘vulgar scenes’ and ‘bold language’ used in this black comedy, which ultimately led to a ban on the movie.
The Pink Mirror (2003)
While experimental movies became the norm, gender issues was still a touchy topic to explore. The Pink Mirror by Sridhar Rangayan is one such movie which brought the concept of trans-sexuality to the forefront. The story dealt with the quest of two transsexuals and a gay teenager to seduce a straight man. No prizes for guessing that the Censor board got offended by the ‘vulgarity’ in the movie and banned it even after the film garnered rave reviews at film festivals around the world.
Paanch, an Anurag Kashyap movie, faced a lot of heat from the Censor Board . Said to be based on the Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders in 1997, the movie was a thriller with high octane violence, crass language and drug abuse. No wonder, the Censor Board decided to ban the film and people awaiting the release of the movie had to make-do with the pirated version of the film.
Black Friday (2004)
Loosely adapted from the famous book Black Friday – The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts by S Hussain Zaidi, Anurag Kashyap’s movie was considered too dark to be released in India. The movie faced a stay order from The Bombay High Court because the 1993 Bombay blasts case and remained slated-to-release until the trial got over.
Parzania cut open the wounds of Gujarat’s scarred past, and received backlash and appreciation in equal amounts. The film was based on a superb plot which revolved around a boy called Azhar who goes missing during the Gujarat riots in the year 2002. Even though the film won a National Award, its cinematic excellence was not considered enough for political parties to let it screen in Gujarat, where it was fiercely banned.
Sins is an erotic journey of a Kerala priest who falls for the charms of a woman and gets sexually involved with her. Filled with obsession, lust and his struggles with the norms of the society he lived in, Sins did not go down well with with the Catholics. They thought the film projected Catholicism in a very immoral light. The Censor Board too, had issues with the nude scenes in the film and hence the movie did not see the light of the day.
Water is another Deepa Mehta movie which courted a lot of controversy because of its dark insights on the life of the Indian widow. Set in a certain Ashram of Varanasi, the script of the movie was written by none other than Anurag Kashyap and took up controversial issues like ostracism and misogyny which were alien to the Indian Censor Board back then. No wonder, the movie was widely attacked by protesters and around 2000 fanatics even destroyed the sets of the film.
Another film to deal with the Gujarat riots, Firaaq was reportedly based on true incidents which happened in the riot-torn Gujarat. Nandita Das was widely criticised for hurting the sentiments of Hindus and Muslims and ultimately the movie got banned. But what came as a major achievement was the fact that the movie finally saw a release date and upon its release, garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.
Gandu is a black-and-white Indian film, in the Bengali language, directed by Qaushiq Mukherjee who has described the film as a “rap musical”. It features Anubrata, Joyraj, Kamalika, Silajit, and Rii in the lead roles. The film was banned in India due to explicit sexual scenes.
Inshallah, Football (2010)
Inshallah, Football is a documentary about a Kashmiri boy who aspires to travel abroad and become a famous footballer someday. However, the boy is denied travelling outside the country because his father is charged with militancy. This film was intended to bring out the problems civilians face due to the insurgencies and militancy in the Kashmir Valley, but the purpose was defeated as it was denied the necessary censor certificate because of its sensitive subject.
Dazed in Doon (2010)
Doon School is one of the most highly respected schools of the country. The Doon School had problems with the content of Ratna Pathak Shah’s coming-of-age movie Dazed in Doon which depicted the story of a boy who is studying at the prestigious Doon School and the life he leads there. The school did not find it amusing to say the least and believed that it spoilt the name and heritage of the school and hence got the film stalled.
The most recent one to join this long list of banned movies in India, Unfreedom is a modern-day thriller which talks about a lesbian love story entangled within an Islamic terrorism-related angle. Bringing together two ‘taboos’ in one package, the Censor Board could not digest the nudity and the lovemaking scenes between the two protagonists. Reports also suggest that the movie was accused of “igniting unnatural passions” and hence was denied release in India, except for a few states.