Top 5 Most Controversial Bollywood Movies of All Time

Controversy is the name of Bollywood and the recent hullabaloo and protests against the movie Padmavati or Padmavat as it is now known is a point of that. While Indian cinema may have come a long way in terms of technology, art, direction and creativity ever since 1913’s Raja Harishchandra- the country’s first feature film it also bought along with it is its share of controversy. Hardly a year goes by without any controversy – right from actor’s personal lives (Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra) to their viewpoints (Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan) and to the content of the movies (the list is exhaustive). In-fact it won’t be wrong to call Bollywood and Controversy as a pair of conjoined twins.

We list below some of the India’s and Bollywood’s most controversial movies of all the time – movies that were banned for unacceptable content, foul language and at times for illogical reasons!

1. Aandhi (1975): Great music and amazing actors couldn’t save Aandhi from being banned by the Congress government in 1975. Reason- the story line was said to be loosely based on the life of Indira Gandhi who was then in power and it was not released till the time Indira Gandhi was in power.

2. Kissa Kursi Ka (1977): A spoof movie starring Shabana Azmi and based on the 1977 emergency. This movie was banned by the congress government when it was released, and all its prints were confiscated.

kissa kursi ka
3. Bandit Queen (1994): Directed by Shekhar Kapur, this real to reel life story based on the life of the erstwhile dacoit cum MP Phoolan Devi remains one of the most controversial movies of India. Though the movie won several accolades abroad, it had its share of criticism. The Indian censor board found its excessive use of crude language and sexual content as offensive and sought to ban it. Even Phoolan Devi herself raised an objection and wanted a stay on the movie.

Bandit Queen
4. Fire (1996) & Water (2005): Both these films made by Deepa Mehta courted controversy because of their subject matter well before they went into production. Fire – for showcasing lesbianism among the two-main protagonist and Water for showing the lives of the widows staying in widow ashrams in Varanasi. Various Hindu organizations protested by burring effigies and posters on the grounds that it shows Hindu culture in a bad light!

5. Paanch (2001) : A movie that remains unreleased even today, Paanch was Anurag Kashyap’s debut film. Based on 1976-77 Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders, the film highlights the story of 5 band members, who brutally killed people for money and drugs. Though, it was cleared after several cuts, it never got released in theaters but is said to be available online.

Though, the above list some of the popular movies, the list is not exhaustive. If one deep dives into the relationship between Indian movies and controversy he or she will find that this goes well beyond Bollywood to regional cinemas as well, though their share of controversy is less than that of Bollywood.