Ten most controversial films
Bollywood is no stranger to controversies. There is no doubt about the fact that controversies have given the added push to a film’s cause but at times, they do almost nothing for its future. While some controversies were merely publicity stunts, others attracted public outrage because of the films’ explicit content. Here’s a look at the ten most controversial films of all time.
Here’s a look at films which created controversies and public outrage
Chetna (1970): Way before ‘Dirty Picture’ paid tribute to a woman’s sexuality; this film had the courage to show a hard-drinking, hard-talking prostitute who didn’t have a tragic story as a premise. The bold scenes didn’t go down to well with the audience at that time and in an interview years later, ‘Chetna’ actress Rehana Sultan revealed that the film permanently damaged her image and career.
Aandhi (1975): Directed by Gulzar, this film was banned by Indira Gandhi during the emergency as it was rumoured to be loosely based on her life. But Suchitra Sen’s Indira Gandhi-sque pace (one hand on her saree pleats and another waving at the people), white hair-strands with oversized shades had too much in common with the Iron lady of India. Unhappy with the ban, the makers of the film added a scene where Aarti tells her father that Indira Gandhi is her idol and she too wants to serve the country like her. This was done to imply that film does not depict her life. After Congress lost in the 1977 elections, the ruling Janata party cleared it and ‘Aandhi’ premiered on national television.
Fire (1996): Deepa Mehta’s film on lesbianism opened to outrage, protests and lots of controversy. The film’s protagonists played deftly by Shabana Azmi and Nandita Basu are sisters-in-law who are trapped in emotionally bleak marriages and turn to each other for comfort, love and eventually, sex. The film didn’t go down with the social conservatives in India as it invoked a lot of negative reactions even in film festivals.
Satyam Shivam Sundaram: When released in India, it caused much controversy over its erotic content, the semi-clad Zeenat Aman and the much-talked about sex scene between Zeenat and Shashi Kapoor.
Black Friday (2004): Based on journalist Hussain Zaidi’s book with the same name on the 1993 Mumbai blasts, the film had to wait for two years before its theatrical release as the trial was on and a stay order had been obtained by the accused. The film was released after the judgment was passed and remains one of the most acclaimed films of all times.
Sins (2005): Directed by veteran journalist Vinod Pande, the film is a take on the prevailing trend of God-con men. However, it attracted a lot of criticism from the Christian community as it depicted a Catholic priest being sexually involved with a young woman. The film was banned because of the negative portrayal of Catholicism and sexually explicit scenes.
Kissa Kursi Ka (1978): When the film hit the theaters, the prints were confiscated and burned at the Maruti factory in Gurgaon. The reason- the film was a political satire aimed at the Gandhi family and especially at the maverick Sanjay Gandhi who was behind the Maruti car project. After the Emergency, a commission was set-up and Sanjay Gandhi was found guilty and sentenced to a month in Tihar Jail.
Ek Choti si Love Story: The film’s lead, Manish Koirala went berserk when she saw her body-double in intimate scenes. The actress approached the National Commission of Women, moved Mumbai High Court to stop the release. Inspired by the English movie, ‘Summer of 1942’, the film is about an adolescent boy’s infatuation with a woman much older to him in age.
Bandit Queen: Based on the book ‘Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi’ by Mala Sen, the film garnered a lot of criticism as the brutal rape scenes didn’t go down with audience and was banned in India by censors due to its portrayal of nudity, sex and violence. Not only that, Phoolan Devi also tried to get a stay order in order to prevent its release. The film however received a lot of critical acclaim at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.