Free Press Journal

Films banned in India


bandit queen

Here’s a list of few films that were banned for various reason in India.

The UDTA PUNJAB controversy has brought banning films back in the news. It’s hardly a secret that every film has to go through Censor Board. A lot of films in India have received the red signal from the Censor Board. In India, the Censor Board has banned a lot of films in the past decade and more films are being banned for their objectionable content. For reasons known and unknown that censor board has been banning films for their sexual content, violence or portrayal of a particular character. This is the first time when a film dealing with the drugs problem of a state is being banned for putting a particular state into bad light.

Starring Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor Khan, UDTA PUNJAB talks about the drugs problem in the state of Punjab and how it can be tackled. The CBFC made more than 80 cuts in the films relating to inappropriate language use and explicit content. The CBFC also asked the film’s director to change the title of the film as it puts the state in bad light.

Bandit Queen (1994)

The person on whom the film was based in itself is a controversial and how could the film not gather eye balls? The film was a biographical film which was made on the life of Phoolan Devi. Directed by Shekhar Kapur, Seema Biswas played the lead role in the film. The film was banned when Phoolan Devi herself questioned the authenticity of facts. The film was premiered in Cannes Film Festival and was screened at Edinburgh Film Festival.

Kama Sutra (1996)

Nudity is yet not approved in Indian cinema and this was the same reason as to why this film was banned in India. Still the film won many praises around the world and at film festivals. Though the film was made on the ancient Hindu text ‘Kama Sutra’ which was written by Vatsyayana., ironically, the film was banned in India due to its sexual content.

Fire (1996)

anchor fireThis was the first mainstream film in Indian cinema which explicitly depicted homosexual relationship. The release of the film was followed by various controversies and protests which led censor board to ban the film.

Kissa Kursi ka (1977)

The film based around the Indian politics and was termed as a political spoof. The film was banned by the censor board. All the master prints and the copies of the film were burnt down by Sanjay Gandhi’s supporters.

Black Friday (2004)

black friday

The film was made on the 1993 bomb blasts and was based on the book ‘Black Friday- The True Story of the Bombay Blasts’ by Hussain Zaidi. The film was controversial and moreover the verdict of the 1993 bomb blasts was still pending that the censor board decided to ban the film.

Water (2005)


The film was the last part of Element’s trilogy after ‘Fire’ and ‘Water’. Prior to the days of the film’s shoot, there were protests and the film’s sets were destroyed in the year 2000. The UP government decided to stop the shoot whereas, Arun Pathak, a human activist, organised a suicide protest to stop the production. The film was later released in 2007.

Sins (2005)

Sins is an erotic journey of a Kerala priest who falls for the charms of a woman and gets sexually involved with her. Filled with obsession, lust and his struggles with the norms of the society he lived in, Sins did not go down well with with the Catholics. They thought the film projected Catholicism in a very immoral light. The Censor Board too, had issues with the nude scenes in the film and hence the movie did not see the light of the day.

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.

Unfreedom (2015)

The most recent one to join this long list of banned movies in India, Unfreedom is a modern-day thriller which talks about a lesbian love story entangled within an Islamic terrorism-related angle. Bringing together two ‘taboos’ in one package, the Censor Board could not digest the nudity and the lovemaking scenes between the two protagonists. Reports also suggest that the movie was accused of “igniting unnatural passions” and hence was denied release in India, except for a few states.