Here is a list of movies that got banned by the Censor board but were complimented abroad.
1. Fire (1996)
Deepa Mehta has been well known for producing movies of global content – and controversies. ‘Fire’ is one movie which acquired a lot of appreciation and recognition worldwide. However it failed to influence people in India and dealt with a lot of negative comments. The film was disapproved by the Indian censor board and was not released in India. It had a disputable story which showed a lesbian relationship between two sisters-in-law in a Hindu family. Many Hindu groups (like Shiv Sena) protested and ultimately got the film banned before its release.
2. Kama Sutra – A Tale Of Love (1996)
As the name suggests, this movie ‘Kama Sutra – A Tale Of Love’ too faced the rage of Indian public who called it ‘unethical’ and ‘immoral’. This Mira Nair movie was a big hit abroad but was banned in the country. Ironically, Kama Sutra was penned in ancient India.
3. Water (2005)
‘Water’ is another Deepa Mehta movie which gained negative reviews because its subject was the Indian widows of Banaras. It dealt with issues like ostracism and sexism which was claimed very insensitive by the Indian Censor Board back then. Although the movie was not released in India, it was much appreciated and praised globally.
4. Bandit Queen (1994)
‘Bandit Queen’ was a biopic of Phoolan Devi – the dreaded female dacoit of Chambal. The movie was banned by the Indian censor board because of its sexual and offensive content. At home the film earned negative comments and criticism; at Cannes it received wide appreciation.
5. Unfreedom (2015)
‘Unfreedom’ is one of the recent movies to be banned in the list. The film was based on the story of an Islamic fundamentalist who kidnaps a liberal Muslim in the US and an Indian lesbian who kidnaps her lesbian lover in India. The movie gained much popularity in other nations but failed to impress Indian censor board and ultimately got banned in the country.
6. Sins (2005)
Sins is an journey of a Kerala priest who falls for the charms of a woman and gets physically involved with her. Sins did not go down well with with the Catholics and the Censor Board too, had issues with the scenes in the film.
7. Dazed in Doon (2010)
This movie shows the life of a boy studying in Doon School, which is one of the most highly respected schools of the country. The Doon School was against the release of the movie and also protested for its ban and ultimately succeeded. ‘Dazed in Doon’ had some scenes of drug abuse and nudity which was not acceptable to the Censor Board.
8. Gandu (2010)
The movie was a black-and-white Bengali film – famous for its stunning visuals and narrative. Though it wasn’t released in India, people abroad appreciated the concept. It was an official selection at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival and was also screened at the Slamdance Film Festival.
9. Paanch (2003)
‘Paanch’ is another movie in our list that faced rejection from the Censor Board .This Anurag Kashyap movie is said to be based on the Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders in 1997. The movie was full of extreme brutality and roughness, with insensitive language and drug abuse. Eventually, the Censor Board decided to ban the movie and it was never released in India.
10. The Pink Mirror (2003)
‘The Pink Mirror’ dealt with the issues of gender discrimination but was banned by the Indian censor board which considered it a vulgar movie. It was produced by Sridhar Rangaya. He came up with the concept of trans-sexuality, which is still a sensitive topic to explore in India. The story was about two transsexuals and a gay teenager who want to seduce a straight man. In spite of much criticism, the film got high ratings and rave reviews at film festivals around the world.
11. Black Friday (2004)
Another Anurag Kashyap movie that was banned in India for being too violent and insensitive. The movie ‘Black Friday’ was adapted from the famous book of the same name which was based on the True Story of the Bombay blasts. This movie faced rejection from The Bombay High Court because of the 1993 Bombay blasts case.
12. Urf Professor (2000)
Pankaj Advani’s ‘Urf Professor’ is among those movies that failed to get a screen in India. The story describes the life of the protagonist winning a lottery ticket. It is believed that the movie had too many ‘vulgar scenes’ and ‘bold language’, which eventually led to a ban on the movie. However the story of the movie was greatly praised by the foreign producers.
13. Parzania (2005)
‘Parzania’ was based on a true incident of a boy named Azhar who went missing during the Gujarat riots in the year 2002. The Censor board declared it is insensitive and violent movie. But it was somehow released in few states of the country. The film even won a National Award but was still not considered appropriate enough for political parties to let it release in Gujarat.