A no-holds-barred tale of all that this world will do to keep lovers as far apart as possible, ‘Un-Freedom’ isn’t for the faint of heart. It will shock you, it will anger you, it will break your heart. Unlike many of the other movies on this list, this movie continues to be banned in India.
The story of a Parsi boy who went missing during the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, ‘Parzania’ is the story of the pain and suffering caused by intolerance and hatred. The film faced an unofficial ban when Bajrang Dal activists began coercing theatre-owners not to screen the film.
The story of the helplessness and rage that followed the demolition of the Babri Masjid, ‘Black Friday’ was based on the 1993 Bombay bombings and the communal riots that followed. The film’s release was delayed by two years when a court-ordered stay was issued against its screening, in 2005.
The story of the Sikh massacre in and around Delhi in 1984, ‘Amu’ is a complex tale simply told. It is also a story that needed to be told. It was denied a rating by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and was later given an ‘A’ rating after some audio cuts.
A gritty, heartbreaking tale of one woman’s plight in a village in India and her sheer will to fight to survive. This movie’s release was temporarily banned when Phoolan Devi challenged its authenticity.
The story of the lives (or utter lack thereof) of the widows in an ashram in Varanasi, ‘Water’ is one of those movies that shows us the slimy, horrifying underbelly of society and its treatment of women. Hindu organizations in Varanasi made an unearthly fuss about the shooting of the film and burned down the sets. The UP government decided to stop the shooting in 2000. The film had to be shot in Sri Lanka and was released in India in 2007.
The story of two sisters-in-law, both stuck in horrible marriages, finding solace, companionship, and finally, love, in each other, ‘Fire’ set the patriarchal world’s teeth on edge. It had every fundamentalist, chauvinistic, “moral guardian” of Indian culture crawling out of the woodwork raising hell and burning cinema halls. Hindu fundamentalists went batshit crazy when they saw that the movie was about a lesbian relationship. ‘Fire’ was withdrawn and sent back to the Censor Board. In a surprising move, the Censor Board later gave it the go-ahead to be released uncut.
The story of a Muslim family during the time of Partition, ‘Garm Hawa’ was held up by the Censor Board for over 8 months, for its “sensitive nature”.
A film that explores the lives of two Indian transsexuals and a gay boy’s attempts at understanding his sexuality and coming to terms with it, ‘Gulabi Aaina’ was denied a rating by the CBFC for being “vulgar and offensive”. The film still remains banned in India.
The story of the 2002 Gujarat riots and the devastating effects of unbridled fundamentalism, ‘Firaaq’ wasn’t released by many theatres due to political pressure on theatre-owners.