The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is the authority to issue ban on movies in India. A ban may also be imposed by the Central of State government for various reasons ranging from religion to obscenity or the portrayal of India in motion picture.
In the history of cinema, a long list of movies couldn’t find its way to the big screen. We give you 10 movies us “desis” missed out on.
1. Lipstick under my Burkha
Lipstick under my Burkha is one such latest movie that has been slapped with a ban by the Central Board of Film Certification. Set in the crowded by-lanes of small town in India, the movie chronicles lives of four women searching for freedom under the wraps of their secret lives. CBFC claims the woman oriented film has sexual scenes with uses of abusive words and audio pornography.
CBFC did not bat an eyelid, however, when the Delhi Belly boys showered the audiences with abusive words and toilet humour.
2. 50 Shades of Grey
50 Shades of Grey, released in 2015 was not given a rating by the CBFC. The movie was not allowed even after voluntary cuts by the distributor. The board said that the content was too provocative for India audiences. Mind you, Kya Kool Hai Hum was not proactive. It had hidden moral lessons. I promise.
3. The DaVinci Code
A movie revolving around the murder inside the Louvre dropping clues in Da Vinci paintings leading to the discovery of a religious mystery lead to a major outcry by the Christian minorities in many states of India. The film was banned for portraying anti-Christ messages that was not taken well by the Indian population. Later, the film was banned in various states including Punjab, Goa, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The film was denied rating on ground that the film was unsuitable for public viewing in its unaltered form. The girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a Swedish-American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher, released in year 2011. The film revolves around a search for a woman missing for fourty years by a journalist named Mikael Blomkvist.
5. Papilio Buddha
Directed by Jayan Cherian, Papilio Buddha is a movie about A band of displaced untouchables in Western Ghats of India embrace Buddhism in order to escape from caste oppression. The movie was banned in India for its portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in negative light. Later, however, it was released after the anti-Gandhi speeches were blurred and muted. And here we thought right to speech was a Fundamental right. Article 19, where you at?
The movie directed by Raj Amit Kumar was banned in India. It was denied a rating by CBFC as the movie examined same sex relationships and religious fundamentalism in India. It was said the movie might give rise to a communal clash. Dunno Y... Na Jaane Kyon, on the other hand was a film featuring the first gay kiss in Indian cinema making it past the CBFC guidelines.
The film faced a lot of opposition in India from the time of shooting itself. The shooting of the movie was stopped. Protestors even organised protests and attacks on cinemas that screened that film. The shooting was later carried on in Sri Lanka. The movie was released after 7 years in 2007. The movie explores lives of widows at an ashram in Varanasi, India. And then we have movies like Grand Masti merrily “flashing” ratings from the CBFC.
8. Bandit Queen
Released in 1994, Bandit Queen was banned by Delhi High Court temporarily. The movie tells the story of the bandit queen Phoolan Devi who was sent to prison in 1983 and got free in 1995. During five years she was prosecuted by the Indian police and turned into a legend (like a modern Robin Hood) by the Indian press. Phoolan Devi, whose life was portrayed in the movie, challenged the authencity of the content and was thus banned.
9. Kissa Kursi Ka
Kissa Kursi Ka (Trans: Tale of Throne) is a 1977 Hindi film directed by Amrit Nahata, who was a member of Indian parliament and produced by Badri Prasad Joshi. The film was a satire on the politics of Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi and was banned by the Indian Government during the Emergency period and all prints were confiscated. It was banned by the Congress government for it made fun of the Emergency. There was lot of outrage all over during the release of the movie. The movie was later remade with a different cast. Not the first time politics banned something in India.
10. Neel Akasher Neechey
It was the first movie to get banned in Independent India in 1959. The movie was banned for two months. The movie portrayed the troubles faced by an immigrant Chinese wage laborer in 1930s Calcutta. The movie was directed by Mrinal Sen.
Looking at the list above, it is safe to say that the censorship board in India does not have an open mind to the artistic freedom of a film. With so many different kinds of sentiments to tackle, it will be a time until India and Indian directors can truly set forth on the path of ultimate creative liberty. Inspite of having the biggest movie industry (Bollywood) in the world, we still haven't open past the shackles of communal intolerance and easy-to-hurt sentiments.
Hopefully, with coming time, a new age of cinema will find its way to Indian households surpassing the current craze of similar sounding item numbers and regressive storyline.