Bollywood apart from the regular masala movies have churned out some extraordinary content. Unfortunately, the content was considered as ‘not suitable’ to the Indian Censor Board. Most of these movies highlighted sensitive issues which did not go well with the Censor Board. Resultantly, the movies were released with lots of unwanted cuts. And some were brutally banned with the audience deprived of some brilliant movies. A recent example would be Padmavat, where the name of the movie had to be changed along with several edits.
Anurag Kashayap had not been a favorite with the Censor Board because most of his movies are extremely radical and concentrates mostly on controversial topics. One of his earlier ventures, Paanch was banned by Censor Board because of the explicit sexual content and glorification of drugs and violence. After the initial ban, Censor Board decided to release the movie with quite few significant cuts which took away the essence of the movie. But the producers did not manage to release the movie at the end after the initial halt.
You might have heard about this much-discussed Bengali movie Gandu. The director Q was unapologetic about the content of the movie which emphasized on an adolescent’s obsession with sexual fantasies. The protagonist is named as Gandu precisely because of his complexities. Although the film won accolades abroad, it was banned in India. An internet version was available which was also prohibited. The film did not survive to see the light of the day.
Another strong narrative which was released in 2017 and had to bear the brunt of the Censor Board has to be Lipstick under my Burkha. Directed by Alankrita Srivastav, the movie was denied certification by the Board on the context that the narrative was ‘lady oriented, their fantasy about love life’. The movie eventually got released with several cuts and the narrative was badly compromised. This is another movie which was hugely unappreciated by the Indian Censor Board, but won huge applause abroad.
Same happened with Bandit Queen by Shekhar Kapoor. The content was considered as vulgar by the Indian Censor Board. Based on the life of the famous dacoit Phoolan Devi, this movie was banned because of an explicit rape scene, content on sexual humiliation and abusive language. After much debates and court fights the movie was eventually released in India, but with many significant edits.
Deepa Mehta has given us some wonderful movies. One of her best works Fire came under sever scanner because of the storyline which depicted the lesbian relationship between two women. Hindu groups like Shiv Sena made a lot of hue and cry about this movie. Although the movie was released with an ‘A’ certification, Censor Board finally banned it in India. Unfortunately the director was not even spared as Deepa Mehta received death threats for making Fire.