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11 Films That Got Trapped In Controversy In The Last 50 Years, Just Like Padmavati

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Going by the recent reports, it might look like the “Padmavati” controversy has become bigger than the actual film itself.Every second person is commenting and expressing their own opinion. But all this hype and hoopla doesn’t seem to be working in favour of the film as there is no sign of it getting released anytime soon.

This is not the first time that our country had to ban movies just because of its controversial content. India, known for its multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and secular culture, seems to be getting intolerant concerning its modern arts. More than restricting the freedom of expression, it’s the failure of the government machinery and security forces which are unable to control the disturbance in the law and order situation. If you can’t control it – ban it – seems like the norm of the day. And the genuine audience is suffering.

Since 1973, when the movie “Garam Hava” was banned, till in 2012 when “India’s Daughter” a documentary on the 2012 gang rape was banned, the tradition is still going on, with Padmavati being the latest addition to the list. Apart from banning, there have been films which created controversies across the country for reasons, not at all related to the content of the films.

Films like “Gadar–Ek Prem Katha”, “Fanaa”, “My name is Khan”, faced opposition from some of the radical forces in the society. Ultimately, it just caused a lot of financial loses for the producers and creative loses for the audience. But, even after experiences this madness, nothing has changed, and nothing will unless audience and concerned citizens of the country do not actively express their opinions.

Below is the list of 11 movies which were banned in India. These movies were supposedly full of controversial content. But if one watches the movie, one can understand the futility of the ban.

1. Garam Hava (1973)

The film, directed by M. S. Sathyu, with Balraj Sahni as the lead, was banned because it depicted a Muslim family during the partition of India. The movie later went on to become one of the biggest hits of the 1970s, and was India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Film category for the Academy Awards.

2. Aandhi (1975)

The decision to ban the film, however, came after it had had a run of around 20 weeks! It was caused at least partly by actions of the Opposition leaders in Gujarat who showed scenes of Aarti Devi, the lead actress smoking and occasionally drinking during assembly election campaigns. The film was rumoured to be based on the life of Indira Gandhi, but the makers denied this fact.

3. Bandit Queen (1994)

The filmed was banned when Phoolan Devi, the subject of the film questioned its authenticity. An article reported that people were dazed after watching the movie, but Phoolan Devi said that the film was anything but true.

4. Kama Sutra: A Tale Of Love (1996)

You probably guessed why this film was banned. Many protested against the explicit sexual content featured in the movie that did not settle well with the Indian mindset.

5. Fire (1996)

The film was banned for a while because the story revolved around a lesbian relationship. Protests and hooliganism took place in many parts of the country.

6. Paanch (2001)

This was Anurag Kashyap’s first film. It was banned for glorifying sex, drugs and violence. The Central Board of Film Certification, struck the film down citing that it had”psychologically damaging material’.

7. Black Friday (2005)

The movie faced a stay order from The Bombay High Court because the 1993 Bombay blasts case was still in court and the movie remained slated-to-release until the trial got over.

8. Amu (2005)

The movie was banned because it was based on the controversial subject of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

9. Water (2005)

This film was viewed as a potential threat to the harmony of the country and hence, was banned, in spite of following the censor board’s suggestion of cutting some scenes. It also faced opposition from hardline Hindu organizations in Varanasi

10. The girl with the dragon tattoo (2011)

The director refused to release the film in India after the board asked him to delete graphic scenes in the film before the Indian release.

11. India’s daughter (2012)

This television documentary about the 2012 Delhi gang rape was prevented from being broadcast due to perceived negative public sentiment.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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