21 Movies That Were Banned By The Censor Board Of India For A Variety Of Reasons

Indian Censor Board is famous for banning a lot of films. Many films are banned based on their sexually explicit content, crude language, substance abuse, or if they have potential to disrupt the harmony of the society. Here are some of the movies and documentaries that were banned by the censor board of our country:

#1. Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. 



Well, we are certainly not surprised that the censor board banned this film. The Censor Board termed it ‘explicit’, ‘unethical’ and ‘immoral’. India is the origin of Kama Sutra, that argument probably did not go well with the authorities. There were also some erotic scenes depicting heterosexuality and homosexuality.


#2. Fire.

Fire (1996, India) Directed by Deepa Mehta Shown from left: Nandita Das, Shabana Azmi


The protagonist duo are named as Sita and Radha. However, the twist here is the relationship that the two women share. They are sisters in law, who eventually fall in love with each other; the movie shows a lesbian relationship. The portrayal of that lesbian relationship is strong enough for the censor board to ban the film; the names of the characters being what they are, were more reason to ban it.


#3. The Pink Mirror. 



Another movie that was banned on the basis of homosexuality. The Pink Mirror also portrayed transsexuals and transgenders in the movie. This was clearly too much for the censor board to digest and it ultimately banned the movie.


#4. Kissa Kursi Ka. 



A political spoof movie during the reign of the fourth Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. The movie was a satire on the Indira Gandhi government. It must have been anticipated that it’ll receive a vehement and extreme response. The supporters of the political party burned and confiscated the film prints. Ultimately, the film was banned.


#5. Sikkim. 



The documentary is produced by Satyajit Ray. The film was banned after Sikkim’s merger in India in 1975, as it showed the Chogyal ruled Sikkim as a sovereign state and portrayed how he felt that the sovereignty of Sikkim was under threat.


#6. Indiana Jones and the temple of doom. 



Yes, the famous adventure movie series too did not escape from the clutches of the censor board. This movie depicted Hinduism, Indian culture and traditions in a bad light. The reason was strong enough for the censor board to ban the movie.

#7. Garm Hawa. 



The film’s story revolved around a Muslim family during India – Pakistan partition. The film was banned for eight months, as the censor board feared that it might trigger communal riots in the entire country. However, the director was persistent and showed it to different political parties, leaders, government officials etc.; it finally got the nod from the censor board.


#8. Aandhi. 



Another film inspired by the politics of the country. However, it does not take a satirical tone, yet it was banned during Indira Gandhi’s reign. The movie is based on the life of Indira Gandhi with her personal life being one of the prime focuses. The movie was banned during the Emergency of 1975, but it was un-banned when the Janata party came to the majority in 1977.


#9. Bandit Queen. 



Bandit Queen is a biographical movie based on the life of a famous dacoit, Phoolan Devi. This movie was criticized by Phoolan Devi herself for not being authentic. Another reason for its ban was that the movie had some nude scenes in it.


#10. Paanch. 



This crime-thriller film is directed by Anurag Kashyap. The reason for this film to be banned is that it glorified sex, drugs, violence and extremely crude language. Even after agreeing to the cuts suggested by the censor board, the film was not released at all.


#11. Final Solution. 



Religion in India has always been and is a sensitive issue in our country. Final Solution is a documentary shot by Rakesh Sharma, based on the 2002 Gujarat communal riots. The censor board feared that it would provoke and trigger the riots and hence banned it.

#12. Hawa Ane Dey. 



Hawa Ane Dey is a film which was banned by the board because the director refused to the cuts suggested by the board. The reasons and the basis of these cuts are not known.


#13. Black Friday.



Another film by Anurag Kashyap, which is based on the infamous Mumbai blasts of 1993. The censor board banned this movie for almost three years due to its controversial content.


#14. Amu.



Amu is a film based on the massacre of thousands of Sikhs during the assassination of Indira Gandhi. This film too was viewed as a potential threat to the harmony of the country and hence, was banned, in spite of following the censor board’s suggestion of cutting some scenes.


#15. Water.



During the filming of this movie, the crew were confronted with numerous protesters at Varanasi. These protesters also created a havoc on the sets by burning some equipment. It faced numerous oppositions when it was filmed in Uttar Pradesh. It portrayed ostracism and misogyny towards the widows in the rural areas.


#16. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. 



This mystery-thriller movie depicted scenes of intense torture and rape. The censor board suggested some cuts, but the director refused to do so and it ultimately resulted in the film being banned.


#17. Fifty Shades of Grey.



An erotic movie with BDSM (a sexual fetish) theme was probably too hard to digest for the censor board. The board did not give a nod to the ‘Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love’, based on an indigenous theme, forget a sexuality themed film from the other country. The distributor also offered to voluntarily cut some scenes, but the censor board did not budge from its decision.


#18. Main Hoon Part-time Killer.



Previously named ‘Main Hoon Rajnikant’, this movie was taken to the court by the famous South Indian actor Rajnikant even before it was released. The film is a political spoof and after the title of the movie was changed, the film was un-banned.





Lesbian theme intersecting with religion is as good as blasphemy for the censor board. This movie was banned based on its content and the portrayal of Muslim fundamentalists.


#20. India’s Daughter.



This documentary based on the infamous rape incident of 16th December 2012, was in the spotlight for weeks. The popular news channel NDTV was going to screen the documentary, but it didn’t. The documentary incorporated interviews of the rapists in the Nirbhaya case, the lawyer fighting on behalf of the culprits etc. The comments made by the culprits and the lawyer defending them were shocking and it was met with intense reaction from the public. In order to curb the negative and legitimate response from the public, the censor board banned its screening on the news channel.


#21. Mastizaade



Mastizaade is a sex-comedy movie and as expected it was banned by the censor board due to its sexual content. However, the movie recently received the certificate on 13th August 2015 from the censor board.


The article is sourced from here and here.


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This story is written by .

Srushti Govilkar

Srushti Govilkar is a Features Editor at Youth Connect. She is a passionate writer, and a very strong feminist. She is a student of English Literature, a voracious reader, a painter and loves to make people laugh. Her latest muse is mythology which she often reads in a critical manner and frequently raises questions about them. She is a movie junkie and tries to watch as many movies as she can.


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