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Most Influential Films Banned in India (10+1list)

Most Influential Films Banned in India.

written by Souranath Banerjee

In India it is not always enough to make good Cinema; the more challenging part for the directors and producers is to make sure that their movie gets released on big screen!

This year only, the producers of Udta Punjab (a film based on drug udta-punjab-posterabuse in Punjab) had the most highlighted and controversial court fight with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) headed by Pahlaj Nihalani. Finally Anurag Kashyap (representing the Phantom productions) did win the legal battle and the film was cleared with only a single cut. 

But movies being banned is nothing new in India. Due to reasons that may be political or social, it can be for abusive language, use of narcotics or due to explicit sexual content, numerous films have been delayed and some unfortunately have never seen the light of a movie theatre yet!

Here is a list of some of the most influential films Banned in India. Do watch them to know the importance of these films and the real reasons for them being out of reach of their audience.

10. Sikkim (1971)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmSeVvA61xU

Sikkim-PosterDirected by legendary Satyajit Ray, this is a documentary on Sikkim commissioned by the then King of Sikkim Chogyal.

The brilliantly made film is about the sovereignty of Sikkim. But in 1975 when Sikkim became a part of India the documentary was banned by the Indian Government. 

Recently, in 2010 the ban was lifted and the classic is now available for all you film lovers!

9. Fire (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnshN0wqiCo

fire-poster1Directed by Deepa Mehta, this is one powerful Indian film that tells the story of two wives from a middle class family who being frustrated by their loneliness and dissatisfied sex-life ignites a lesbian relationship among themselves.

Bold and thought provoking – though globally appreciated and well received but was predictably banned in India right after its release!

8. Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqztmYen6co

kama-sutra-poster1With numerous candid sexual scenes throughout the film, although artistic and sensual in a very royal-Indian way, this film of course couldn’t manage to pass the morality test of the Indian Censor board.

Directed by Mira Nair, a brilliant piece of storytelling which was too offensive for the audience of a country from where the whole concept of ‘Kama Sutra’ was actually originated. What an Irony! 

7. Parzania (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHWPWsOmoWA

parzania-posterA brilliant film that dares to portray the horrific and painful genocide that took place in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002, commonly known as the Gujarat riots!

It was banned in Gujarat because of it’s sensitive subject even though director Rahul Dholakia and lead-actress Sarika won the National award for the film!

Great performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Corin Nemec as well.

Another film on the same subject that was banned too was Nandita Das‘s Firaaq (2008)

6. Black Friday (2004)

Film scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR1mkPQI9z0

black-friday-posterThe 1993 serial Bombay bomb blasts that shook the entire nation and then, it’s aftermath – a film that managed to portray it all and that too in a brilliant graphic manner.

This Anurag Kashyap film was too dark and realistic to release at the time specially since the trail decisions of the many arrested were pending.

5. Bandit Queen (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66uIVFb6ATA

bandit-queen-posterAbusive language, nudity, sexually offensive content – the biopic on the media-hyped woman-bandit Phoolan Devi was banned by the Indian Censor board due to all those reasons!

But then again the film directed by Shekhar Kapur, is one of the most courageous and dramatic Indian biopic that I have seen till date!

Seema Biswas won the National Award for her stellar performance as Phoolan Devi while Shekhar Kapur won the Filmfare Best director award!

4. Garm Hava (1974)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJqPQjADWGE

garm-hawa-posterScorching Winds, the film that depicts a Muslim family struggling to find their identity as our country was reeling through the repercussions of the partition.

Directed by M.S. Sathyu, and brilliant performance by Balraj Sahni, but the film was banned since the subject matter was considered to be too sensitive for the time. Finally, after 8 months it got released, and yes – the film was also nominated for the Palme d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film festival!

3. Aandhi (1975)

Film song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-HnmVg0-O8

aandhi-posterDirected by Gulzar, this one was banned during the time of it’s release due to the fact that the lead character played by Suchitra Sen seemed to have similarities with the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Later in 1977 the movie finally got it’s theatrical release; the film won the best critic award and Sanjeev Kumar won the best actor at the Filmfare Awards!

2. Amu (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqGGM8xl3Qw

amu-posterA film based on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, a brilliant story woven around the genocide that once shook our country.

Directed by Shonali Bose and superb performance by Konkona Sen Sharma, the film got banned of course because of it’s sensitive subject matter but it did get a release with an adult rating  and some specific audio-cuts. The film won a National Award that year!

  1.  Water (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7uM-CbzIAI

water-posterAnother one from the highly acclaimed director Deepa Mehta, a stunning portrayal of the widows in India who are forced into a life of extreme sacrifice and poverty. 

The film was not only restricted from the release by protesters who felt it was too controversial a topic for the Indian audience, even the sets of the film were attacked by fanatics while the film was being shot!

and (The ‘+1 film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Gulabi Aaina (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEWPwrAjgpY

gulabi-aaina-posterThe Pink Mirror – a 40min short directed by Sridhar Rangayan which explores homosexuality in India. Through this unique film the concept of trans-sexuality was addressed probably for the first time in our country.

Needless to say a bold film on gender issues has to be banned by the Censor Board even when it was screened in more than 70 film festivals and been appreciated by the critics all across the globe!

Poster courtesy: sikkimnow.blogspot.inwww.imdb.com.

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Best of Bollywood police officers fighting against corruption (10+1list)

Best of Bollywood police officers fighting against corruption.

written by Souranath Banerjee

I have noticed that the police officers in Bollywood are rarely taken seriously, i mean in a realistic manner.

Either they are shown as the corrupt sadistic nuisance with no honor, conscience or sense of duty (generally villain’s sidekicks who will be bashed up by the hero towards the end of the film).

Or else they are fabricated into these caricatured super heroes who can singlehandedly beat up an entire town of bad guys (the likes of DabanggSingham and Rowdy Rathore).

In such glorious history of Bollywood only a few handful films portray a cop in the right perspective; someone who has dignity, honesty, the will to fight against corruption and most importantly a common man with no superhuman powers.

And here’s some of the best of Bollywood police officers fighting against corruption, a list that celebrates all those real life brave Indian police officers who respects their uniform and we respect them.

Let’s get started.

10. Sehar (2005)

Film clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uzJPW7qqxE

Sehar-posterAn uncorrupted cop, Ajay Kumar (Arshad Warsi) when transferred to Uttar Pradesh, clashes with the brutal mafia don Gajraj Singh (Sushant Singh).

Ajay Kumar leads a team of daring officers who took up the mission to stop organized crimes in Lucknow.

Directed by Kabeer Kaushik, the film is a dramatic take based on the real lives of gangster Shiv Prakash Shukla and gallant SSP Arun Kumar. Also watch Pankaj Kapur in a unique role as Prof. Tiwari. 

9. Yeshwant (1997)

Film clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yPO2EA_YEE

Yeshwant-posterMaverick, tough and committed Inspector Yeshwant Lohar (Nana Patekar) is the man to watch out for in this film.

Directed by Anil Mattoo, this is a cop who struggles in-between his professional and personal lives; a man who is too straightforward and undiluted for surviving our current work system.

Basically, a one man show for Nana Patekar and a must watch for his superb energetic performance.

8. Gangaajal (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf5mD-Q05_8

Gangaajal-posterSP Amit Kumar (Ajay Devgn) is given the charge of Tezpur police station in Bihar, where law and order is known by the name of a corrupted politician Sadhu Yadav (Mohan Joshi).

But of course the situation changes by the time our strict and honest SP is done with the notorious Yadav gang.

As with most of Prakash Jha‘s films, this one too tries to restore our faith in law, constitution, and democracy by the end of the film.

7. Mardaani (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04E-jHtWrDA

Mardaani-posterA girl goes missing and eventually senior inspector of the criminal branch Mumbai, Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) takes up the case.

Soon she is confronted by the child trafficking mafia kingpin Walt (Tahir Raj Bhasin) who wants her to stop the investigation.

Directed by Pradeep Sarkar, this lady cop drama is one of the pretty realistic sketch of a devoted cop trying to accomplish her duty at any cost.

6. Sarfarosh (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlULorEPMig

Sarfarosh-posterA personal tragedy makes Ajay Singh Rathod (Aamir Khan) to join the police force to fight against terrorism.

And soon famous Pakistan-based Ghazal singer Gulfam Hassan (Naseeruddin Shah) becomes a suspect of Ajay’s hunt for terrorists.

Directed by John Mathew Matthan, this one is a fine crime drama that is portrayed in a very realistic manner, a thriller at its best.  

5. Khakee (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuo5cq2QBcg

Khakee-posterDirected by Rajkumar Santoshi, this is the story of DCP Anant Shrivastav (Amitabh Bachchan), who is responsible to escort a terrorist Iqbal Ansari (Atul Kulkarni) from Chandangarh to Mumbai.

Though determined to accomplish his mission, he faces tremendous resistance from the terrorist leader Yashwant Angre (Ajay Devgn).

Along with Akshay KumarAishwarya Rai Bachchan and Tusshar Kapoor this one is a cool police drama to consider.

4. Ab Tak Chhappan (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tKzKJko34A

Ab-Tak-Chhappan-posterWith Inspector Sadhu Agashe Nana Patekar is back as the encounter specialist, who believes that its better to eliminate the rouges of our society than taking them into custody.

Directed by Shimit Amin, this is one gritty tale of how the volatile equation between the police and the underworld is maintained.

Probably Nana Patekar’s best performance till date.

3. Shool (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqU4vpL-0LA

shool-posterInspector Samar Pratap Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) is transferred to Motihari, in the Indian state of Bihar along with his wife (Raveena Tandon) and kid.

And there, the officer’s honesty and diligence is tested against the local MLA Bachoo Yadav (Sayaji Shinde).

Directed by Eeshwar Nivas, outstanding performances and the film also won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.

2. Zanjeer (1973)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfvbZsPsBZU

Zanjeer-posterBollywood has never seen such an honest cop story told with such conviction before the release of this super hit film.

The film that made Amitabh Bachchan a super star and gave him the iconic screen name ‘Vijay’!

Along with Jaya BhaduriAjit and Pran, and directed by Prakash Mehra, this film established the well known ‘angry young man’ image!

  1. Ardh Satya (1983)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EesInevxpAs

Ardh-satya-posterWhen talking about a lone honest police officer fighting against the odds of the system, this is the first film that comes to my mind!

A newly appointed Sub-Inspector Anant Velankar (Om Puri) wants to make the world a better place but soon finds out the reality of how our system works.

Directed by Govind Nihalani, along with Smita PatilAmrish Puri and Sadashiv Amrapurkar, this is a film that perfectly depicts an honest cop’s humiliation and frustration as he is sucked into the whirlpool of corruption.

and now, (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. Black Friday (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR1mkPQI9z0

Black-friday-posterThe film (though it’s not exactly a story based on an honest cop’s struggle) shows the thorough investigation process that followed the 1993 serial Bombay bomb blasts.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap, one of his earlier films and of course the most controversial one.

A superb thriller and Kay Kay Menon as DCP Rakesh Maria is an absolute delight to watch.

Poster curtsey: en.wikipedia.orgwww.imdb.com, www.koimoi.com/www.filmiclub.com.

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Bombay Velvet (2015)

Bombay Velvet review.

My Ratings: 2.5/5.

Bombay Velvet is my favorite director Anurag Kashyap‘s latest feature and one of Bollywood’s most anticipated films of 2015. 

bombay-velvet-poster4The story of an ambitious young Johney Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor) who wants to be called a ‘big-shot’ after his death; who falls in love with a beautiful club-singer Rosie (Anushka Sharma) and who also makes the mistake of betraying the notorious newspaper tycoon Kaizad Khambatta (Karan Johar).

Based on Indian historian Gyan Prakash’s book Mumbai Fables – Bombay Velvet claims to be a thriller, a crime drama and also a love story all at the same time.

But unfortunately it doesn’t match up to the audience’s expectation level – primarily because it lacks a dignified story line and intelligent dialogues.

Bombay-Velvet-poster1First of all, the basic plot is very much clichéd and many a times illogical. The film desperately attempts to create the old fashioned ‘film noir’ kind-of mood (dark and tragic) but after the second-half Bombay Velvet becomes predictable and in a way simply refuses to entertain.

The mad-lover in outrage (we have seen better in Dev.D), the police/CBI chasing suspects (seen better in Black Friday), slow motion firing of machine guns with heavy background music (seen better in Gangs of Wasseypur), suspense and unexpected twists in the story (seen better in Gulaal) – honestly even Anurag Kashyap‘s unreleased debut film Paanch (2003) had more zing than Bombay Velvet (story wise).

But again the mood and lighting is brilliant. Cinematographer Rajeev Ravi has done a great job with the colors and texture of the film.

bombay-velvet-posterThe production designers Errol Kelly and Sonal Sawant along with the art director Sameer Sawant recreated the grander of old Bombay with perfection.  

Amit Trivedi‘s music is decent but nothing extraordinary. 

Now for the acting part – good performances all around. Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma seem to have a great on-screen chemistry.  

Unfortunately, after achieving great success in Barfi! and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani actor Ranbir Kapoor‘s luck seems to have taken a summersault. In spite of giving worthy performances, his last three films BesharamRoy and Bombay Velvet (included) somehow fail to hold the audience’s attention.

bombay-velvet-poster3An under-exploited Kay Kay Menon as the CBI officer, Satyadeep Misra as the trusted friend, Vivaan Shah as the lover-boy driver, and even the debutant villain Karan Johar (who seems to have charged only Rs 11 as his acting fee) has done pretty well. 

Overall Bombay Velvet (149 min long) could have been much better with a tight script and crisp dialogues. May be a budget constraint does work better in case of certain directors!

Note: Though Martin Scorsese is given special thanks and Oscar winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker (who has many a times worked with Martin Scorsese before) did edit the film – but Bombay Velvet is nothing close to any of Martin Scorsese’s films. So please stop comparing and unnecessarily escalating your expectations.   

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Ugly (2014)

My Ratings: 4/5.

People are like coins and when they are tossed up in the air, there is a good fifty percent chance of them falling their ugly side up.

The film Ugly reveals this hidden side of us, the rotten core of our human nature, the ugly truth of our society; and who better can orchestrate such a dark film with such perfection than Anurag Kashyap?

Director Anurag Kashyap has this exceptional talent of illuminating those gloomy, dark tunnels of our human minds where other filmmakers seldom dare to focus their beam. His debut film Paanch then Black FridayNo SmokingDev.DGulaal, even the Gangs of Wasseypur series – the characters in all these films seems to celebrate the violence and the dark passion in them.

And Ugly is no exception and probably the most dark film recently made in Bollywood. 

A thriller that revolves around the kidnapping of a little girl and the rigorous search that follows. A nasty tale of mayhem, greed and corruption that doesn’t spare anybody – none of them comes out clean and innocent.

Ugly contains hardcore violence and abusive language – not at all advisable for the children.

But then again there are a few awesome moments of black humor that serves as the much needed relief moments for the audience.

The only known faces are the ever-angry Ronit Roy and to some extent Tejaswini Kolhapure (she was launched in Anurag Kashyap’s Paanch which unfortunately never released). 

Most of the other actors are relatively new but every one gave very natural performances – especial mentions Rahul Bhat (the estranged father), Vineet Singh (the friend) and Girish Kulkarni (the ideal local police head).

The background score does it’s job i guess but i wouldn’t complain if it was more on the grungy side. The camera angles, especially the typical ‘chase sequences’ have the trade mark of an Anurag Kashyap movie.       

Overall a very real, hard-hitting film made with enough passion and courage; though it’s difficult to admit but Ugly is a perfect snapshot of our current society.

P.S – the film Ugly was waiting to release for almost a year now since Anurag Kashyap was fighting a case in Bombay High Court against the Censor Board as he refused to add the anti-smoking disclaimer in the film.

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