Anyone who follows Bollywood knows that it thrives on controversies. There are controversies around everything, be it actors, their personal lives or their movies. Every time a thought-provoking Bollywood movie releases, we know it won’t go down the throat of either extra sensitive people or the Indian Censor Board.
Here are 40 controversial Bollywood movies which broke the news because they were differently accepted by people.
It is 1975 political movie based on the life of Indira Gandhi. It was banned when Indira Gandhi was in power. However later, BJP came into power and lifted the ban from the movie. It was also aired on Doordarshan.
2. Bandit Queen
Based on the life of Phoolan Devi, this movie by Shekhar Kapur is one of the most controversial movies of Bollywood. The nude scenes by lead actress Seema Biswas, rape scenes and abusive language in the movie was the cause of the controversies related.
Members of Shiv Sainik and Bajrang Dal protested against the theme of the movie which was lesbianism. It also raised questions over if India is ready for “different” cinema.
4. Ram teri Ganga Maili
Mandakini and Rajiv Kapoor starrer movie had scenes which were considered inappropriate for the audience which stirred a controversy. The actress had her ‘assets’ flashing in some of the scenes which was not normal for bollywood movies.
5. Satyam Shivam Sundaram
This movie had steamy scenes of Zeenat Aman which is why it was banned for some time. Later, the ban was lifted and it was a huge success.
This movie is about self-discovery, however it garnered attention only because of the steamy nude scenes between Simi Garewal and Shashi Kapoor. Indian Censor Board was so touchy in those days that it did not even allow kissing scenes in movies!
7. Insaaf ka Tarazu
This hit movie by B.R. Chopra stirred a controversy because it showed a 13 year old getting brutally raped on screen. Explicit scenes like these were a big NO for Bollywood!
8. Black Friday
This movie is based on the Mumbai bomb-blasts of 1993. The verdict for that case was still in the court and it was said that the movie would influence the decision, which is why the movie was banned for 2 years.
9. Kissa Kursi ka
The spoof movie on Sanjay Gandhi during the emergency was banned by the Indian government when it released. it was made sure that all prints of the movie were confiscated.
Anurag Kashyap’s movie loosely based on the 1976-77 Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders was in controversy because it never made to the theatres. The Censor Board made various cuts to the movie after which it was passed but could never be seen until a preview copy was leaked online.
Directed by Deepa Mehta, this movie showcases the difficult and simple lives of widows in ashrams. It hurt the feelings of Hindus which led to burning of posters of this movie on the ghats. Activist Arun Pathak also organised a suicide protest to stop the film production.
We all remember the social debate which followed this movie. Some scenes of the movie hurt the sentiments of several religious groups. It showcased some of their customs as superstitions and raged people.
13. Madras Café
This movie revolved around the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and the Indian intervention in the Sri-lankan civil war. There were several Tamil groups who demanded a ban on the movie.
14. My Name is Khan
SRK, around the release of this movie said that he would want Pakistani players to participate in the IPL. It did not go well with the ‘sentiments’ of Shiv Sena, who threatened SRK with stalling the release of this movie.
Shiney Ahuja starrer movie Sins is based on true events where a Catholic priest is romantically involved with a young woman. The sensitive nature of the movie led to zero promotion by TV channels.
This 1970 movie had a sensitive message for the audience but it showed a strong image of a woman, a prostitute smoking and drinking. It did not go well with the audience of those times.
Around the release of this movie, Aamir Khan raised his voice against raising the height of Narmada Dam. The then ruling party in Gujarat, BJP consequentially banned not only this movie in Gujarat but also products endorsed by the actor. Speaking your mind can backfire in India!
This super-hit movie had bold scenes between Mallika Sherawat and Emraan Hashmi which shocked the masses and stirred controversies across India.
19. Omg- Oh My God!
The movie garnered attention for the honest portrayal of religious situation in India but it also had a lot of controversies around it. There was a complaint against the actors of this movie for hurting sentiments of Hindus. The movie was also banned in UAE.
This 1975 movie was extremely controversial because of its content. It showed premarital pregnancy and inter-caste marriage which was very new to Bollywood at that time.
The song ‘Sadda Haq’ from Rockstar faced the wrath of censor board because it featured a flag with “Free Tibet” written over it. Eventually the flags were blurred because it sent a strong political message. Protests by Students for Free Tibet (SFT) were also staged against the Censor Board.
This film touched the sensitive nerves of some people when it portrayed the caste based reservation system in India. As a result, the movie was banned in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh before its release. The ban from Uttar Pradesh was later lifted by the Supreme Court.
23. Rang De Basanti
A scene from this movie had Aamir Khan on a horse. Maneka Gandhi objected to this because no permission to use animals in the movie were taken. The scenes had to be cut from the movie but it did create a controversy around this movie. Horses or no horses, we love this movie!
Katrina Kaif’s debut movie had kissing scenes between Gulshan Grover and Katrina Kaif which were later deleted. The movie was termed as ‘soft porn’ and got into controversies because of that.
What seemed like an adaptation of Lolita was “against Indian values” according to Congress party members in Uttar Pradesh. There were also major protests in Allahabad over the film. Too much for freedom of expression facade?
26. Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love
Even though Kama Sutra originated from India, this movie with sexually explicit contents ran into trouble with the censor board. The lead actress was also very hesitant about coming to India after seeing the resistance around this movie.
This movie around the worst communal riots of India was not shown in Gujarat which was the centre of the riots. After an initiative by ANHAD, a civil rights group, the movie was shown in some parts of Gujarat. the topic of the movie is so sensitive that it remained under controversy throughout.
This movie highlights the various issues that Kashmir faced over the years and was banned in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Oman. It was termed as highly controversial and objectionable by the UAE Censorship Board.
The story of this movie revolves around the 1984 riots of India where thousands of Sikhs were massacred. The movie faced the wrath of censor board in India and was also ineligible to be telecast on the television.
30. The Dirty Picture
This movie based on Silk Smitha’s life was received greatly by the audience but it got into a lot of controversies. The posters of the movie were the first reason. The second reason was the objection by Silk Smitha’s brothers who even sent notices to the makers of the movie.
This movie was in news because of its poster which had Kareena Kapoor’s bare back. Members of a political party even sent a saree to Kareena Kapoor, however in a press conference she refused to comment on the issue. Apart from this, there was a petition against the obscenity in two songs of the movie.
32. Hate Story
There was a controversy around this movie because the over-sensitive Censor board thought that the promo of this movie were not suitable to be aired on the television. The posters of the movie were also criticized for being obscene.
33. Goliyon ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela
People in India are too touchy. Someone got offended with the title of this movie. It apparently hurt the sentiments of Hindus because the name was based on a Hindu mythology. There was an FIR filed against Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh for the same.
Barfi created a controversy because it had several scenes copied from Charlie Chaplin’s films. What meant to be a tribute seemed like a true copy of scenes from not only Charlie Chaplin but also The Notebook.
Mallika Sherawat is the unmatched queen of controversies in Bollywood. With her debut movie Khwahish, she got into a controversy because of her 17 kisses in it. Yes, we counted!
The movie had controversies around it because of the lyrics of one of the songs of this movie. A seven minute love scene was also blurred from the movie. Too sensitive, Indian Censor Board?
This movie kicked off controversies even before it released. Various groups of the Sikh community demanded a ban against this movie because it ‘hurt’ their sentiments.
This movie by Nandita Das was based around the 2002 riots of Gujarat. Even though the movie got a lot of international awards, it made into news because it was banned in Gujarat.
The movie faced backlash because of the portrayal of the Indian Army in the movie. It also received negative reviews from some chunks of the audience who called for a boycott of this movie.
40. Ek Chhoti Si Love Story
Manisha Koirala starrer movie got into a controversy when the actress filed a court case against the objectionable scenes in the movie. The star alleged that her body double was used in the making of the movie and so she wanted a stay on the release of the movie.
So how many of these have you seen?