The Indian censor board has been criticised time and again for banning various films and web series for a slight difference in opinion. From being homophobic and casteist wherein they ban films and series that deal with homosexual relationships and ones that serve as a scathing and biting commentary on the caste politics in India, the censor board is very cautious in protecting the romanticised image of the country. Thus, they often do not certify films that challenge their inhibitions and prejudices.
Films like Padmavati were initially banned from release unless they changed the name to Padmavat as it allegedly threatened to disrupt the sanctity of the holy Queen of Chittoor. The actress Deepika Padukone even received various death and assault threats that forced the filmmaker to make changes.
There are many such films that have not been certified for a theatre release but are streaming on Netflix worldwide for viewers to watch. Some of them involve gay romances while others see strong independent women having fun in their own right, something that challenges the patriarchal Indian mindset of the CBFC.
Here are four such films banned in Indian theatres that you can watch on Netflix now:
Four films banned in Indian theatres that you can watch on Netflix now:
Angry Indian Goddesses (Pan Nalin, 2015)
To celebrate an impromptu bachelorette, a group of Indian girls go off to Goa for a wild ride of booze, parties and more. However, amidst the rollercoaster of fun and frenzy, heartbreaks occur when hidden secrets are brought to light.
The title sequence got the film censored by the CBFC in India. The film is quite loopy and somehow gets lost in the conglomeration of comedy, tragedy and musical, but still manages to keep up the youth, innocence and madness of female friendships.
Unfreedom (Raj Amit Kumar, 2015)
The film takes place simultaneously where a lesbian girl tries to fend herself against a regressive arranged marriage while a liberal scholar in New York is captured by a devout religious extremist. Due to the presence of gay romance and the overt themes of extremism and terrorism, the film did not receive a certification from the censor board
Starring Victor Banerjee, Adil Hussain and Preeti Gupta among others, the film provides a scathing and polarising portrait of our current cognition. In this film of taboos and conflicts, the film presents juxtaposing viewpoints on family, love, faith and freedom.
Gandu (Quashiq Mukherjee, 2010)
Brimming with cynicism and nihilism, Gandu is a young rapper who hates his mother for indulging in an affair and is disillusioned with life. As he steals from her lover, he embarks on a drug-fuelled journey of rap, sex, drugs, horror, porn and psychedelic madness.
Shot mostly in monochrome, the film is a passive-aggressive narrative fest with a lot of raunchy scenes that can initially throw one off their balance. The explicit sexual content and crass language and the unconventional methods of filmmaking might be a good reason for the film to be banned in Indian theatres where many walked out in the middle of the show, unable to sit through it anymore. The film was well-received at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival and was screened at Sundance.
Loev (Sudhanshu Saria, 2015)
Starring Dhruv Ganesh and Shiv Panditt in lead roles, the film has an emotional connotation to it as it was Ganesh’s final role before he succumbed to tuberculosis. The film focuses on the duo as friends who go off to the Western Ghats on a weekend trip where they discover the physical, emotional and sexual intricacies of their homosexual relationship.
With missed chances, searing romance and exploration of truth and individual psyche, the film shows a fresh exploration of a gay romance. The palpable frustration between the duo finds an outlet in the exotic sceneries of the western ghats as they seek solace in nature without feeling stifled.