They say Art and Culture transcend boundaries. While that may be true for creators there are multiple
barriers that play hindrance in its reach. The Indian film industry aka Bollywood is one of the largest
cinema hubs in the world. However, there have been different instances when socio-political relations between countries have played a role in its release. Bollywood films have often been banned from an overseas release. From citing explicit content to others there are several hit films that never saw the light of the day outside India. Here is a list of 15 blockbusters banned movies of Bollywood.
15 banned movies of Bollywood in foreign countries
Padman starring Akshay Kumar was a critical and commercial success in India and in other
foreign countries. The movie is based on the real-life common man on his quest to make economically-accessible sanitary napkins for women. However, the movie was completely banned in Pakistan. Pakistan Federal Censor Board cited that Padman was against their culture and traditions. Bizzare right?
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Oh My God
Paresh Rawal’s Oh My God was praised for pushing the envelope of religious fanaticism. The movie opened to a great response from the audience and critics alike for its genuine question and storyline. However, Oh My God got banned in many overseas countries including the UAE for hurting the religious sentiments of people.
The Dirty Picture
Vidya Balan gave one of the most memorable performances in her career with ‘The Dirty Picture’. The movie was based on the real-life actress Silk Smitha who died by suicide after battling depression. The film was a huge blockbuster in India with many praising Vidya for playing the character to perfection. On the other hand, The Dirty Picture got banned in Kuwait for its explicit content and Vidya Balan’s bold look.
Delhi Belly managed to deliver a rib-tickling thriller with great performances from Imran Khan, Vir Das and Kunal Roy Kapoor. The film received a lot of praise for the audience and still remains a millennial favorite. While Delhi Belly was raved about in India, Nepal banned the film based on its excessive swearing and obsessive scenes. The movie never released in Nepal due to its explicit content.
Mani Ratnam’s directorial Bombay is regarded as an Indian cinema masterpiece. The movie was highly acclaimed by both the audiences and the critics for its performance, story, and music. The film was based on the communal riots that plagued Bombay following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Despite being an iconic film, it was banned in several cities in India itself. The film was delayed by three months due to censorship issues and later got banned in Singapore due to the escalating religious tensions in the country.
Fiza directed by acclaimed filmmaker Khalid Mohamed was a huge success in both India and the world. The film received a positive response for its storyline, soundtrack, and performances from across the world. Based on the life of a young Muslim man who elopes to become a militant, Fiza was considered controversial in many parts of the country. However, Malaysia put a complete ban on the film stating that a Muslim cannot be a terrorist.
The Akshay Kumar blockbuster ‘Baby’ was highly acclaimed in India for its crime thriller approach. The film is based on how RAW agents go on a covert mission to nab a Pakistani terrorist in Dubai. The film got banned in Pakistan for obvious reasons for its main plotline.
Anand L. Rai’s Ranjhana remains one of the most beautiful heartbreaking stories in Bollywood. The film was based on a love story between Sonam Kapoor’s character who is a Muslim and two Hindu men. While Ranjhana raked positive responses from across India and overseas but was banned in Pakistan for its inter-religious love story. The music by A R Rahman remains as soulful as ever.
Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer Agent Vinod was a mediocre hit in Indian cinemas. While some scenes in the film did notch up the audience’s interest, it wasn’t a blockbuster. Pakistan censor board banned Agent Vinod for showing their country in poor light.
Tere Bin Laden
No, points for guessing where and why the film got banned. The film was a comedy-drama based on world-renowned terrorist Osama Bin Laden. The film was a huge success in India for its funny take on the lead characters, however, it got banned in Pakistan for its main storyline.
Bangistan starring Pulkit Samrat and Riteish Deshmukh is based on two suicide bombers who land up into an explosive mission. Apart from getting banned in Pakistan, the Ritesh Sidhwani directorial did not get a release in UAE and Singapore. The film was considered funny by the audience but did not earn much at the commercial box office.
One of the most controversial films in Bollywood, Udta Punjab had trouble releasing in India itself. The film had some really obscene/ explicit scenes that were cut off by the censorship board. Udta Punjab focused on addicted Punjabi youths and their cocaine smuggle from neighboring countries. The movie got banned in both Pakistan and Punjab for its subject.
Neerja was based on the real-life story of late Air Hostess Neerja Bhanot. The film paid a tribute to her sacrifice and valor in saving the life of passengers on a hijacked plane. The terrorists in the plane were Pakistani and so it ultimately got banned in the neighboring country. The film received huge praise in India for its honest storytelling and performances.
An action-comedy film, Dishoom starred Varun Dhawan and John Abraham in lead roles. The film received positive response amongst the masses for its masala content. However, Pakistan was not happy for showing their country in a poor light. The full-on entertainer flick also starred Nargis Fakhri and Jacqueline Fernandez.
Phantom starring Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif in lead roles was based on a fictional story post 26/11. The film showed Saif and Katrina on a mission to kill Hafiz Saeed who is said to be the mastermind behind the Mumbai 26/11 attacks. Soon after its release, the JuD chief petitioned the Pakistan court for banning the film as it showed him and his organization in poor light. He also quoted that Phantom contains “filthy propaganda” against him and his outfit.
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