Bollywood is always known for its saga of family drams and romantic stories with happy endings. Yet, now and then, non-conventional plot has drawn controversies as well as applause. Time and again, filmmakers have walked the extra mile in choosing subjects that has drawn criticism and the wrath of both public and some political parties.
Boom News lists some of the movies that stirred controversy across India owing to political pressure. While some of these movies were released later amidst hype and fanfare and went on to become blockbusters, others never saw the light of the day.
The film is said to be loosely based on the life of India’s first woman Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The film was released at the time when Gandhi imposed emergency in the country. The main protagonist of the movie, played by SuchitraSen, is believed to have a striking resemblance to Mrs. Gandhi. From the sari she wore to the make up with a grey streakto the walking style and speech delivery, it is said that Suchitra looked almost like the former Prime Minister. The film was banned initially because it had a few scenes depicting the main lead smoking and drinking. Interestingly, the ban was later removed after Inder Kumar Gujral, who was then the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister, saw the movie. He was convinced by the movie and gave a clean chit saying the movie draws no parallels with the life of Mrs. Gandhi.
Release Date: February 13, 1975
Film Cast:Sanjeev Kumar, Suchitra Sen
Verdict: Super Hit
Kissa Kursi Ka
Said to be loosely based on the life of Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi, Kissa Kursi Ka was also released during the state of emergency. The movie had dialogues like: “Sir, give this young man the licence to manufacture small cars because he learnt it in his mother’s womb”, meant it took on Sanjay Gandhi, the most powerful man of India at that time. In the film, the main political party had a ‘people’s car’ as its election symbol, an obvious take-off on Sanjay’s Maruti car project.
Subsequently, a show-cause notice was served to the producer of the movie with 51 objection sby the I&B ministry. The Government confiscated all prints of the movie and burnt them. Sanjay Gandhi was jailed for a month in the following case, and was later released on bail.
Release Date: 16 Febuary, 1978
Film Cast: Shabana Azmi, Raj Babbar, Utpal Dutt
Director: Amrit Nahata
Verdict: Banned after initial release
My Name is Khan
Amidst much controversy when My Name is Khan released, the film raked in the moolah. Apparently, the harassment of Shah Rukh Khan by an immigration officer in America came at the time when the film was due for release, which co-incidentally was about the treatment meted out by Americans to Muslims. Also, just before the release of the movie, SRK had a tussle with Shiv Sena when he made a comment about Pakistani cricket players not being allowed to play in IPL. As a result, there were attacks on cinemas and booking centres across Mumbai.
Release Date: 10 August, 2010
Film Cast:Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol
Director: Karan Johar
The film, produced by actor John Abraham who also played the lead role, had its share of controversy too. Based on the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Madras Caféfaced lot of flak from Tamil Nadu’s Naam Tamizar and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) for its depiction of post-civil war Sri Lanka. The film was eventually released among these controversies and went to become one of the most talked about movie of John Abraham’s career. The film was later dubbed in Tamil to be exclusively released in Tamil Nadu.
Release Date: 23rd August 2013
Film Cast: John Abraham, Nargis Fakri
A cinematic adaptation of S. Hussain Zaidi’s book about the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts, Black Friday did not see the light in theaters for two years. On the eve of its release, a petition seeking a stay was filed by the people named in the film, the alleged perpetrators of the crime. Since the verdict was still pending for the 1993 case, they argued that the film would bias public opinion against them and affect the court’s decision, an argument that was ultimately upheld by the court. The movie was released only after two years.
Release Date: 13 August, 2004
Film Cast:Kay KayMenon, Pavan Malhotra, Aditya Srivastava, Imtiaz Ali
Verdict: Critically acclaimed