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Most controversial films in 100 years of Indian Cinema

Progressing in all fields in the 100 years of Indian cinema, Bollywood is now a stage for the most controversial films as well.

Making films that expose stark realities and raise questions not spoken openly in the society have been a tough task for the filmmakers. While several controversial films were banned, dragged to court or were edited, some made it through the tough times and went on to have a lasting impact on the audience.

Bollywood has now come a long way in dealing with tough issues like terrorism, communalism, racism, marital rape, homosexuality, same sex relationships, live-in relationships, extra marital sex etc.

Saluting the filmmakers who make an extra effort in addressing a troubling issue, we bring to you the most controversial films that made a mark in the history.


The film starring Sanjeev Kumar and Suchitra Sen had close resemblance with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s life and was banned during the emergency. However, when Gandhi lost elections in 1977, the ruling Janata party lifted the ban and even premiered it on Doordarshan.

Bandit Queen

Bandit Queen was a Shekhar Kapur film based upon the life of Phoolan Devi. Seema Biswas played the lead role in the film and even real Phoolan Devi tried to stop the film’s release. It showed some very cruel rape scenes, abuses and violence.


The film featuring Rehana Sultan, Shatrughan Sinha and Anil Dhawan addressed the rehabilitation of prostitutes. However, it became more popular for actress Rehana Sultan’s bold scenes. The dialogues were also regarded outrageous and put an end to her career.

Ek Chhotisi Love Story

The story of a 15 year old boy falling in love with a 26 year old girl was unheard of. Also, it showed bathroom masturbation scenes. Manisha Koirala had accused the director of filming some intimate scenes with her duplicate to which she objected. She asked for stay on the film’s release.


The film made by Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta was released in Toronto Film Festival in 1996. However, it came to India only in 1998 and created huge uproar for depicting lesbian relationship. Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das played the two lesbians in the movie.

Kissa Kursi Ka

The Amrit Nahata film made in1977 was banned by the Indian Government. The film had close resemblance with life of Sanjay Gandhi and the commission made to investigate the destroying of film’s prints found him guilty. Its prints were confiscated and burnt. The film starring Raj Babbar and Shabana Azmi was a humorous comment over the political system showing the the selfishness of the politicians.

Ram Teri Ganga Maili

The Raj Kapoor film made in 1985 showed Mandakini bathing under a waterfall in a transparent sari. Bollywood heroines bathing in waterfalls became a trend after the film.

Satyam Shivam Sundaram

The film presented Zeenat Aman in a very sizzling avatar, who even had kissing and lovemaking scenes with co-star Sashi Kapoor. This 1978 Raj Kapoor film was banned for some time but later, it went ahead collecting several awards.


The film Siddhartha was regarded controversial for Simi Grewal and Sashi kapoor’s nude lovemaking scenes. Going topless on screen was not a usual affair in 1972 and caused quite an uproar.

Insaaf Ka Taraazu

The film entered into a controversy for showing a 13-year old being raped. The rape scene was filmed on actress Padmini Kolhapure and the film went on to become a box office hit.

Insaaf Ka Taraazu

News of a dispute between Talaash director Reema Kagti and Aamir Khan turned into a controversy.


The Vinod Pande film showed a Catholic priest’s love story with a young woman. The film with bold scenes was banned for negative portrayal of Catholicism. Shiney Ahuja played the role of the priest in the film.

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