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Bollywood films that were banned due to political reasons

With the recent ban on Punjabi film, 'Kaum De Heere', we take a look at films that ran into trouble on account of politically motivated protests against them

To say that Bollywood is a hotbed of controversy is perhaps not an understatement. From star lives to films dealing with sensitive subjects, there is no death of instances when B-town has kicked up a storm. In a country as diverse as ours, on far too many occasions, films have inadvertently rattled certain sections of society, leading to protests against the concerned films. And though India has become more liberal in its approach over the years, sensitive subjects still run the risk of getting banned.

A case in point is the Punjabi film, Kaum De Heere, that will not be released in the country since the Indian government has imposed a last minute ban on the film. The film is said to be based on the events leading up to the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. The movie was banned earlier this year by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), after which it was released in other parts of the world on March 14. Following this, its makers accommodated some changes in the movie and soon it was cleared by the Censor Board only to be banned again after the Centre withdrew its censor certification.

hitlist gives you the lowdown on some films that ran into trouble on account of politically motivated protests against them...

Film: Aandhi (1975)
The issue: Directed by Gulzar, this film was an Indian political drama. The film was banned during Emergency by Indira Gandhi because the films was allegedly based on her. She made the film a national issue.

Aandhi was banned during Emergency by Indira Gandhi because the film was allegedly based on her
Aandhi was banned during Emergency by Indira Gandhi because the film was allegedly based on her

Result: The film finally released in 1977 after a change of government. The film also won the best movie award.

Film: Kissa Kursi Ka (1977)
The issue: The film was a political spoof which was banned by the Congress government as it allegedly lampooned the Emergency. Prints and copies of the film were burned by party supporters. Incidentally, the film was directed by Amrit Nahata, who was an MP, and it was produced by Badri Prasad Joshi. 
Result: The film was finally released the same year after a change of government.

Film: Fire (1996)
The issue: It was among the first mainstream films in India to explicitly depict homosexual relations. The day the film was released, many theatres were attacked by Hindu fundamentalists and some political parties.

Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi in a still from the film, Fire (1996). As one of the first mainstream films in India to explicitly depict homosexual relations, it faced the wrath of Hindu fundamenstalists and a few political parties, post which it was withdrawn from the theatres only to be released later.
Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi in a still from the film, Fire (1996). As one of the first mainstream films in India to explicitly depict homosexual relations, it faced the wrath of Hindu fundamenstalists and a few political parties, post which it was withdrawn from the theatres only to be released later. 

Later on, the film was withdrawn from theatres and sent back for censorship.
Result: The film was released in 1998 without any cuts.

Film: Black Friday (2005)
The issue: Given that the film is based on the 1993 Mumbai blasts, its release ran into trouble early on.

Based on the 1993 Mumbai blasts, Black Friday was supposed to release in 2005, but it finally released in 2007
Based on the 1993 Mumbai blasts, Black Friday was supposed to release in 2005, but it finally released in 2007

The film awaited the verdict of a lawsuit filed in the Bombay High Court.
Result: The film was supposed to release in 2005, but it finally released in 2007.

Film: Water (2005)
The issue: Directed by Deepa Mehta, this film is set in 1938 and it explores the lives of widows at an ashram in Varanasi.

Water
Throwing light on the lives of widows in Varanasi, Water faced opposition during its shooting. Later on, the film’s release too ran into trouble 

The movie faced opposition during its shooting as well; its sets were destroyed in Varanasi and the UP government decided to intervene and stop the film’s shooting. The ensuing tension and economic setbacks suffered by the film led to several years of struggle for Mehta.
Result: The film eventually released in 2007.

Film: My Name is Khan (2010)
The issue: This Shah Rukh Khan-starrer also faced problems when political parties asked for a ban on the film due to his comment on the exclusion of the Pakistani cricketers from the Indian Premier League (IPL). Initially, Shiv Sena rescinded its demand to block the film’s release, but when the film released the same year (2010), some theatres were attacked by party workers.
Result: After the attacks, director Karan Johar and some distributors met with the city police to ask for additional security. The Maharashtra government had to call in five battalions of the State Reserve Police Force to protect 63 cinema halls in the city that were screening the film.

Film: Fanaa (2006)
The issue: Aamir Khan faced opposition in Gujarat following his expression of support for the people displaced by the Sardar Sarovar project.

 Protests broke out against Aamir Khan and his film, Fanaa (in pic), after he expressed support for people displaced by the Sardar Sarovar project. showed support  In the absence  of police security, most theatre owners in Gujarat refused to screen the movie
Protests broke out against Aamir Khan and his film, Fanaa (in pic), after he expressed support for people displaced by the Sardar Sarovar project. showed support In the absence of police security, most theatre owners in Gujarat refused to screen the movie

The government of Gujarat demanded an apology from Aamir but he refused to offer one. Several multiplex owners stated that they could not provide security to moviegoers watching the film. In the absence of police security, most theatre owners in Gujarat refused to screen the movie.
Result: Producer Aditya Chopra then filed a petition seeking the Supreme Court intervention. He sought a directive targeted at the Gujarat government whereby it would have to provide protection to all cinema halls screening the film, but this plea was rejected. Fanaa was released in 2006.

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