Firaaq to Fire: 8 Bollywood movies whose release was mired in controversy

Bollywood movies that take up bold subjects often become a subject of controversy, but that doesn't make them any less captivating.

They say if you’re not offending someone, you’re probably doing it wrong. The same goes for Bollywood movies. While our films are mostly well-tame to avoid controversy and brutal censor cuts, some bold filmmakers still let their artistic juices flow to create a controversial yet, epic cinematic experience. Most of these movies would still end up getting cuts from the Indian Censor Board or get banned completely, it doesn’t take away their awesomeness.

Be it terrorism or homosexuality, some filmmakers chose to depict strong subjects in their movies that led to several altercations. Here are some Bollywood movies that were the centre of controversies but still deserve your attention.

1. Black Friday (2007)

Based on the infamous 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, Black Friday was deemed too controversial for the Indian audience given that the case was still in court then. The film was banned for three years and was finally passed in 2007.

2. Haider (2014)

This Vishal Bhardwaj found itself at the eye of controversy for its depiction of the Indian Army in Kashmir. The film was finally passed with 41 cuts and opened to wide critical acclaim.

3. The Dirty Picture (2011)

This biographical drama was based on the life of South Indian actress Silk Smitha. The film’s development was a controversial subject as it focused on Smitha as a sex symbol. The filmmakers even received notices from Smitha’s brothers.

4. Bandit Queen (1994)

Directed by Shekhar Kapur, the film is based on the life of Phoolan Devi and is said to be one of the most controversial movies of Bollywood. From nudity to rape scenes, the film was deemed too bold for the audience.

5. Omg- Oh My God! (2012)

Starring Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal, this film really hurt the sentiments of religious groups. Complaints were filed against the movie and it was even banned in UAE.

6. Fire (1996)

This Deepa Mehta film became a subject of controversy for depicting the story of two lesbians. Featuring Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi, Fire was deemed inappropriate and was protested against by members of Shiv Sainik and Bajrang Dal. The Shiv Sena women’s wing even went as far as saying, “If women’s physical needs get fulfilled through lesbian acts, the institution of marriage will collapse… reproduction of human beings will stop.” (Indian Express, December 2, 1998)

7. Goliyon ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela (2013)

This Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone starrer apparently ended up hurting religious sentiments of Hindus because of its title. A complaint was filed against director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and the film was not screened in a few regions.

8. Firaaq (2008)

Based on the 2002 Gujarat riots, this Nandita Das movie was ‘condemned’ and was even banned in the state of Gujarat. The film was critically acclaimed at several international film festivals and even won two National Film Awards.

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