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With Udta Punjab controversy being the most recent, the Indian Censor Board is famous for banning a lot of films. Majority of these banned movies are due to their explicit sexual content, crude language, substance abuse or if they have the potential to disrupt the “harmony” of the society.
Also See: Top 10 Movie Clichés (Hollywood Special)
Here are the movies and documentaries that were banned by the Censor Board of India:
1. Kamasutra: A Tale of Love
This movie was bound to be banned. It was banned due to sexual content. The version released in India had 2 minute cut of nudity. The movie was termed ‘explicit’, ‘unethical’ and ‘immoral’.
India is the origin of Kamasutra, that argument probably did not go well with the authorities. There were also some erotic scenes depicting heterosexuality and homosexuality.
On its opening day in India, some film theaters were attacked by Hindu fundamentalists for depicting a lesbian relationship. The film was withdrawn and sent back to the Censor Board. But, later it was released uncut.
The protagonist duo are named as Sita and Radha. However, the twist here is the relationship that the two women share. They are sisters in law, who eventually fall in love with each other; the movie shows a lesbian relationship. The portrayal of that lesbian relationship is strong enough for the censor board to ban the film; the names of the characters being what they are, were more reason to ban it.
3. Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror)
The film was denied a rating for its homosexual content. The Pink Mirror also portrayed transsexuals and transgenders in the movie. This was clearly too much for the censor board to digest and it ultimately banned the movie.
4. Kissa Kursi Ka
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.
A political spoof movie during the reign of the fourth Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. The movie was a satire on the Indira Gandhi government. It must have been anticipated that it’ll receive a vehement and extreme response. Ultimately, the film was banned. The movie was later remade with a different cast.
The film was banned after Sikkim’s merger in India in 1975, as it showed the Chogyals-ruled Sikkim as a sovereign state. The documentary is produced by Satyajit Ray. The ban was lifted in September 2010.
6. Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
The famous adventure movie series too did not escape from the clutches of the censor board. It was banned temporarily for its “negative” depiction of Indians. This movie depicted Hinduism, Indian culture and traditions. The reason was strong enough for the censor board to ban the movie. The ban was later rescinded.
7. Garm Hawa
The release was held up by the censors for 8 months. The film depicted a Muslim family during the partition of India. The censor board feared that it might trigger communal riots in the entire country.
However, the director was persistent and showed it to different political parties, leaders, government officials etc; it finally got the nod from the censor board.
Another film inspired by the politics of the country. It was banned during Emergency by Indira Gandhi.
The movie is based on the life of Indira Gandhi with her personal life being one of the prime focuses. The movie was banned during the Emergency of 1975, but it was un-banned when the Janata party came to the majority in 1977.
9. Bandit Queen
Bandit Queen is a biographical movie based on the life of a famous dacoit, Phoolan Devi. This movie was criticized by Phoolan Devi herself for not being authentic. Another reason for its ban was that the movie had some nude scenes in it.
It was banned temporarily by the Delhi High Court after Phoolan Devi, the subject of the film’s story, challenged its authenticity
This crime-thriller film is directed by Anurag Kashyap. The reason for this film to be banned is that it glorified sex, drugs, violence and extremely crude language. Even after agreeing to the cuts suggested by the censor board, the film was not released at all.
11. Final Solution
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The documentary film was banned by the Censor Board for being provocative and under concerns that it may trigger communal violence. It was based on the 2002 Gujarat violence. But, it was cleared after some months.
Religion in India has always been and is a sensitive issue in our country. Final Solution is a documentary shot by Rakesh.
12. Hawa Ane Dey
The movie was not approved by the Censor Board because the director didn’t accept the suggested 21 cuts. The reasons and the basis of these cuts are not known
13. Black Friday
Another film by Anurag Kashyap. The movie was based on the 1993 Bombay bombings. The released was blocked until the verdict of the lawsuit by the Bombay High Court on the petition of the under-trials. The film was originally set to be released in India on 28 January 2005. The producers appealed at the Supreme Court but the High Court order was upheld. The movie finally saw its release on 9 February 2007. The censor board banned this movie for almost three years due to its controversial content.
Amu is a film based on the massacre of thousands of Sikhs during the assassination of Indira Gandhi. This film too was viewed as a potential threat to the harmony of the country and hence, was banned, in spite of following the censor board’s suggestion of cutting some scenes.
This movie was based on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots initially was denied a rating. The film was later given an adult rating after some audio-cuts.
The movie faced opposition during its shooting from hardline Hindu organizations in Varanasi. The sets were destroyed. These protesters also created a havoc on the sets by burning some equipment. The Uttar Pradesh government decided to stop the shooting on 31 January 2000. The shooting was shifted to Sri Lanka later. The movie was released in India much later in March 2007. It portrayed ostracism and misogyny towards the widows in the rural areas.
16. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
It was banned for its adult scenes of rape and torture. The Central Board of Film Certification demanded that these scenes be cut, which the director David Fincher refused to do, it ultimately resulted in the film being banned.
This mystery-thriller movie depicted scenes of intense torture and rape.
17. Fifty Shades of Grey
The film was not given a rating by the Censor Board, even after voluntary cuts by the distributor.
An erotic movie with BDSM theme was probably too hard to digest for the censor board. The board did not give a nod to the ‘Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love’, based on an indigenous theme, forget a sexuality themed film from the other country.
18. Main Hoon Part-time Killer
Notable south Indian actor Rajinikanth moved the Madras High Court to stop the release of this film stating that it violated his personality rights. A stay was granted, and the makers of the movie were directed not use superstar’s name, image or likeness. The director Faisal Saif later said he had shown the film to the actor and his lawyers to assure them. The film’s title was later changed to Main Hoon (Part-Time) Killer.
The film is a political spoof and after the title of the movie was changed, the film was un-banned.
The film was denied a rating by the Censor Board. The film examined same sex relationships and religious fundamentalism in India. The director Raj Amit Kumar was told by the Board that film will cause clashes between Hindus and Muslims, and will provoke “unnatural passions”.
Lesbian theme intersecting with religion is as good as blasphemy for the censor board. This movie was banned based on its content and the portrayal of Muslim fundamentalists.
20. India’s Daughter
This television documentary about the 2012 Delhi gang rape was prevented from being broadcast by a stay order from a court, due to perceived negative public sentiment including remarks defending the rape which drew public outcry in India when the film was shown. The movie was uploaded to YouTube and the Indian government requested it be removed.
In order to curb the negative and legitimate response from the public, the censor board banned its screening on the news channel.
Mastizaade is a sex-comedy movie and as expected it was banned by the censor board due to its sexual content. However, the movie recently received the certificate on 13th August 2015 from the censor board.
See Also: Factual Inaccuracies in Bollywood
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