10 Most Controversial Bollywood Films


We all know the fact that Bollywood thrives on controversies, sometimes created unintentionally and sometimes generated as publicity stunt to create a buzz. There are controversies around everything, from film’s plot to the stars’ personal lives and from the release dates to the film’s credits.

Every time a filmmaker takes up a project which is centred on a sensitive issue, the movie always faces controversy of all sorts. There is either the censor board or some group of people whose sentiments get hurt and they create a Halla over the release of the film. Such outrage usually stems from the exploration of a sensitive topic or lifestyles that are far from being accepted.

Here’s a list of 10 most controversial films in Bollywood-

Udta Punjab (2016)

Image credits- Balaji Motion Pictures

This Abhishek Chaube film starring Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Diljit Dosanjh and Kareena Kapoor Khan was an honest portrayal of a drug situation in Punjab. It brilliantly showed how the youth in the state is affected by this issue, how politicians are involved in spreading the addictions, how people are unknowingly dragged in the drug addiction and how this issue is destroying the entire population in the state. However this realistic depiction was not welcomed by censor board and it ordered 98 cuts in the film pointing at abusive words and objectionable scenes. Because the makers kept strong and the entire progressive civil society stood behind the film, it released and garnered huge appreciation.

Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017)

Image credits- Balaji Motion Pictures

Female sexuality is a taboo in the Indian society even in the 21st Century. Therefore, Lipstick Under My Burkha, the film which openly speaks about women embracing their sexual desires was a centre of several controversies. Alankrita Shrivastav directed this film which revolved around the lives of four women played by Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma, Ahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur. Censor board banned this film earlier, but after several attempts and appeal in the tribunal, the film released in theatres.

Also read- Here’s how Lipstick Under My Burkha proved that even niche films can excel at the Box office

Fire (1996)

Image credits- Kaleidoscope Entertainment

The explicit portrayal of sexuality in films has always been a reason behind controversy. This Deepa Mehta film came at a time when homosexuality was not even discussed in Indian society.  The portrayal of lesbianism in the film by Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi created a turmoil in the society and caused several protests against this path-breaking film.

Also read- Bollywood films which broke social taboos

Sins (2005)

Image credits- YRF

Commenting on religion and Godmen in the films is another issue which causes massive outrage in the society. Sins revolves around a true event of a catholic priest romantically involved with a young woman. Though the sexual escapades of the so-called Godmen is a known fact, people protested against this film.

Bandit Queen (1994)

Image credits- Kaleidoscope Entertainment

Film based on the life of a dacoit and rebel Phoolan Devi, who later became a politician, was directed by Shekhar Kapoor. Acclaimed theatre actress Seema Biswas starred in the titular role in the film. Bandit Queen was appreciated by critics and went on to win several accolades. However, the excess nudity, sex and violence in the film attracted the wrath of the CBFC and it was banned.

Kama Sutra- A Tale of Love (1996)

Image credits- Trimark Pictures

This film directed by Mira Nair ran into trouble for the most obvious reason- sexually explicit content! Though India is the origin of the ancient text written by Vatsayana, both the audience and censor board could not accept the film to portray it.


Garm Hawa (1974)

Image credits- Abu Siwani Production

Though there are many films made on the subject of Partition, this is the most poignant of those. This film is directed by M S Sathyu, starring Balraj Sahni in the lead role. It showcases a dilemma of a Muslim family of whether to move on Pakistan or not. The film was attacked of being anti-Indian and pro-Muslim. The film’s release was held for 8 months by Censor Board fearing communal unrest.

Aandhi (1975)

Image credits- Mehboob Studio

This film directed by Gulzar is said to be based on Indira Gandhi’s life. As it commented on the then PM and emergency imposed by her, it was banned when Congress was in power. However later, BJP came into power and lifted the ban from the movie.

Kissa Kursi Ka (1977)

Image credits- Wikipedia

The satirical movie on Sanjay Gandhi and Indira Gandhi during the emergency was banned by the Indian government when it released. It was made sure that all prints of the movie were confiscated and burnt. Not only that, the producer of the film was handed in a show cause notice with 51 objections by the Government.

Black Friday (2007)

Image credits- Adlabs Films

One of Anurag Kashyap’s finest works, Black Friday, was the film centred on the 1993 Mumbai bomb blast. The content was so controversial that the CBFC banned it for three years in anticipation that it will influence the court proceedings on the case. After TADA court announced the verdict, the film was cleared and released in theatres.

Leave a Reply