Hello & Welcome Back to the nostalgia corner! We also delved into the controversial side of the 90s by looking at banned advertisements. While the innocence of the era has been romanticised time & again, it seems that movie makers were also trying to break the mould of the Indian public. There were several movies that were banned in India during the nineties, we have shortlisted the few that were actually good, but courted controversy for some reason or the other. Here are 6 controversial movies you should know about:
Aandhi is a 1975 movie based on the life of Indira Gandhi. The movie was banned when Indira Gandhi was in power, however, later the ban was removed & the movie was aired on Doordarshan too.
Bandit Queen (1994)
Bandit Queen is the biopic of bandit turned politician Phoolan Devi. The content & script of the movie were phenomenal, it was hailed at several movie festivals. The circumstances that led to Phoolan Devi becoming a powerful & notorious bandit is nerve wracking. However, the movie met a lot of backlash because of the brutal rape scenes & nudity, these scenes were objected by the Censor Board & later by Phoolan Devi herself.
The Second instalment of Deepa Mehta’s elemental trilogy, Fire was banned for its glorification of same-sex relationships. The ban was however lifted later & the movie is available for the India public, however, Fire continues to be one of the most controversial movies in India.
Kamasutra: A Tale of Love (1996)
Kamasutra is an English language historical drama movie co-produced & directed by Mira Nair. Though Kamasutra has originated from India, the eroticism depicted in the movie was severely resisted & criticised by the Indian public. The backlash for the movie was so strong that the lead actress was afraid of coming to India. The movie was banned & has remained banned since.
In 2023 the condom brand, Kamasutra, made history of sorts by launching Kamaverse in the Metaverse. A virtual “museum” which allows people to explore intimacy and eroticism. Time will tell if this gets banned too!
Hey Ram (2000)
Hey Ram is an award-winning, Indian historical, political, thriller fiction which was written, directed & produced by Kamal Haasan, who also played the lead character in the film. It was produced in Tamil and Hindi. Hey! Ram the movie had met with controversy even before it was released. The trailers of the movie communicated a negative image making several people believe that the movie was an anti-Gandhi movie. This belief was backed by members of the Congress Party. The movie was not banned but it did not do as well in the box office either.
Black Friday (2004)
Black Friday is a 2004 Indian crime drama film written and directed by Anurag Kashyap about the 1993 Bombay Bombings. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and was a nominee for the Best Film (Golden Leopard) award at the Locarno International Film Festival. The film was so controversial that the Indian Censor Board did not allow it to be released in India for three years and was finally released on 9 February 2007 after Supreme Court of India allowed it following the verdict in the ’93 Bombay blast case was delivered by TADA court.
Is India unique in banning movies?
Other countries also ban movies for reasons of violence, nudity or inappropriate portrayal. Singapore banned Zoolander, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, The Exorcist and a Clockwork Orange.
Australia doesn’t have a long list with the standout being the Texas Chainsaw Massacre!