Bollywood films have to get certification from the Censor Board in India before being released to the public. The Censor Board watches the movie, suggests cuts, changes, and removal of offensive content, and then allows the film to release. Often films having controversial subjects face troubles with the Censor Board. They might suggest various changes that affect the plot of the film or decide to ban the film altogether. Here are ten films which got their release delayed due to issues with the Censor Board.
Ugly is a psychological thriller directed by
Anurag Kashyap. It starred actors like
Ronit Roy, and
Tejaswini Kolhapure in important roles. The movie faced troubles with the Censor Board regarding the display of a warning against smoking every time a character smokes on-screen. He fought the decision of the Censor Board to include such warnings in his film. The film was to be released in 2013, but it finally came out in 2014 after a delay of several months. Anurag Kashyap was still opposing the rule about warning against smoking when the movie was released.
Black Friday was a movie about the bombings in Mumbai in the year 1993. It included references to real people involved in the case and the horrific consequences of the activity of terrorism. This film of Anurag Kashyap faced issues with the Censor Board as they believed such a film would incite the audience. The release of this film was kept on hold for three years, long after it had been shown in several film festivals. It finally had an Indian release in the year 2007 when the Supreme Court gave it a green signal after delivering the verdict in the case of the Bombay blasts.
Parzania was based on the communal riots in Gujarat and the struggles of a family to find their son who had got lost in the riots. It was based on a true story. Given the sensitive nature of the subject, it faced a backlash from the public as well as the Censor Board. It was made in 2005 but was not allowed to release in India till 2007. Several political parties opposed its screening, especially in the state of Gujarat.
Deepa Mehta is known for making controversial movies and her Fire, made in 1996, was no less controversial regarding its theme and treatment. It was the story of a lesbian relationship between two women who found freedom of expression in each other. The Hindu community was angered by the boldness of the film.
Shabana Azmi and
Nandita Das received death threats before the film’s release. The Censor Board finally banned the film’s release in India to avoid any more controversy. It finally released in 1998.
Firaaq was a multi-starrer political thriller made in the form of several short stories tied together by a single theme. It was directed by actress Nandita Das and had a cast of
Tisca Chopra, etc. It was set in a period soon after the 2002 Gujarat riots and showed its effects on common people. The film won accolades at several film festivals but got banned in India due to its sensitive subject regarding the Hindu-Muslim conflict. The movie finally released in the year 2009 and was widely appreciated.
Water was another movie by Deepa Mehta which dealt with the plight of widows in an ashram in Varanasi. It depicted how young widows are oppressed and ostracized in the Indian society. Starring Lisa Ray,
John Abraham, and
Seema Biswas, Water was a film that had a deep impact on the audience. However, the Censor Board banned the release of this film following protests and marches against it. After several delays and controversies, the Censor Board let the film release in 2007, after a waiting period of two years.
Rang Rasiya is the story of the artist Raja Ravi Varma and his life and art. The lead roles were played by
Randeep Hooda and
Nandana Sen. The film contained several bold scenes and subjects. It was opposed by the Censor Board on allegations of ‘nudity’. The film went to festival circuits in the year 2008 but had to wait for a long time to be released in India. It finally saw daylight in the year 2014. After a long wait, the Censor Board allowed the film to release after editing objectionable scenes.
This movie is about the sinful love affair between a student and her teacher, played by
Shweta Tripathi and
Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The film was completed in 2015 but faced many controversies before its release. The theme of the film was termed too bold for the audience and the Censor Board delayed the release of the film for a long time. It was finally allowed to release in 2017, long after the lead actors had received awards for their performances in film festivals.
9. 31st October
31st October was a film based on the assassination of the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and its aftermath. It featured
Vir Das and
Soha Ali Khan in important roles. The film was first screened at the London Indian Film Festival in 2015. However, its controversial nature led to problems with the Censor Board. It was released in India in the year 2016 after a year of delay.
10. En Dino Muzaffarnagar
This is a documentary movie based on the riots that took place in Muzaffarnagar in the year 2013. The film has been struggling to get a Censor certificate for years and was refused one for the second time in April 2016. The Censor Board claims that the film’s release might cause communal disharmony due to its sensitive theme. The director has struggled very hard to get validation for her film, even taking legal steps to ensure success. The fate of this movie shows the plight of small film-makers struggling to make their voices heard in India.