The Indian Censor Board has had its scissors ready for every little peck on the lips since the coloured movie tradition reached India. Censoring some scenes is one thing but banning a movie is just too big a deal. They shelved entire movies because the movies touched some sensitive topics that they thought would create a turmoil among the viewers. Here is the list of top 10 of these shelved movies that you probably didn’t get to see in a theatre near you:
Deepa Mehta’s Water faced some real troubles not just during the time of certification but even during when it was being shot. The movie focused on ostracism and misogyny towards the widows in the rural areas near Varanasi. During filming, protesters gathered around the sets and made the place a shack by burning and breaking the equipments and set pieces. The censor board surely had its eyes on this film and banned it from releasing in India. Ironically it was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 2007 from Canada.
9. Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom
Surprise surprise. Not even Indiana Jones could get away from the hands of the censor board. This Hollywood epic got banned because it had a cult which the censor board felt was somehow related to Hinduism and violated its beliefs and rituals. This movie particularly in the entire franchise was special to India as the late Amrish Puri was the antagonist. However, it could not see the light in the Indian theatres.
8. The Pink Mirror
The Pink Mirror portrayed the famous ban territory of the censor board – homosexuality. Moreover, the film depicted transgenders and their plight which hit another negative in the censor board check list. It was not suitable for the Indian audiences according to the board so they never really made it possible for the film to be released.
There might be a checklist before the movie is even seen by the board. If the movie has one or more values checked then the movie would be banned. This movie probably will hit the jackpot in such a list. Religious Issues – check, Homosexuality – check, Controversial Terrorism – check.
6. Black Friday
Mumbai Blasts of ’93 shook the entire country. It was a massive blow to the security and police force and the only one suffering were the common people. This was the content of the movie Black Friday. Anurag Kashyap was denied release of his movie because of the controversial story it had. The censor board only gave the green light after three years of its intended release.
When the name Anurag Kashyap gets attached to the director of the film, the censor board starts preparing the banned shelf for the movie. This movie has all the typical traits of an Anurag Kashyap film – drugs, violence, sex, crude language but an excellent portrayal of the real dark society. But the movie hitting all the sensitive issues right in the middle could not go away from the great censor board banned shelf.
4. Bandit Queen
Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen told the story of the famous Indian decoit, Phoolan Devi. There was a lot of controversy at the time of its making. Phoolan Devi commented that it was not an accurate depiction and due to the sensitive content with violence and nudity the censor board shelved it. Though, irony abounds as this was highly critically acclaimed overseas.
Another movie belonging to Deepa Mehta on this list. It portrayed homosexuality in the form of a lesbian relationship that forms between two sisters in law. Censor Board banned this not only on this basis, but on another more unique reason. The names of the characters were Sita and Radha. This movie also was highly acclaimed overseas.
Not surprisingly, this movie has all the elements of a Censor Board banned film recipe. Infact it was so easily banned that it became an example for the censor board to show everyone that you can’t have a movie that contains any of the things that are shown in this movie. The Censor Board termed it ‘explicit’, ‘unethical’ and ‘immoral’. Well, ironically India is the land of Kamasutra, where this concept itself originated. But now everyone’s shy to even talk about it.
1. India’s Daughter
This documentary was based on the vicious gang rape in Delhi on 16th December 2012. It had interviews of the culprits and the defence lawyer in the case which were obnoxious and the government sent a notice to ban the documentary from screening anywhere. It was taken down of Youtube where it was briefly uploaded and its scheduled screenings were cancelled.