Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world in terms of number of movies produced every year. However, apart from all the hits, flops and the average, there exists another brand of Indian cinema which is deliberately kept out of our reach. Films that indulge in strong (read bold) language, suggestive (read vulgar) scenes, gender taboos, Kashmir issues, religion and basically movies which are way ahead of its time.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Paanch (2003)
Paanch, an Anurag Kashyap movie, faced a lot of heat from the Censor Board . Said to bebased 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.
4. 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.
5. Parzania (2005)
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.
6. Water (2005)
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.
7. 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.
8. 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 movieDazed 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.