Madhur Bhandarkar
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Indu Sarkar row: A look at controversial films that ruffled political feathers!

By HT

In India’s film history, this is not the first time when a political party raised an objection or tried to stall the release of the film. 
 
Even during the British Raj films were banned for political content. In 1939, 26 years after Dadasaheb Phalke made India’s first movie, the Tamil film Thyagabhoomi was banned in Chennai as the British rulers felt it is supportive of India’s Independence movement.
 
Here are some films directly or indirectly depicting the lives of politicians, which ran into trouble:
 
1.Aandhi (1975): Best known for songs like Tere bina zindagi se koi, this film directed by Gulzar and starring Sanjeev Kumar and Suchitra Sen was banned from screening for two years as a section of the Congress leaders felt that the film sought to portray Indira Gandhi and her relationship with her estranged husband, Feroze Gandhi. The film subsequently hit the theatres after the Janata Party came to power in 1977. It was even premiered on state-run Doordarshan.
 
2.Kissa Kursi Ka (1977): Directed by an MP, Amrit Nahata, the film was banned. It was based on the lives of Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay. Many years later, another film came out with the same title but with a much-diluted script with no reference to Nehru-Gandhi family.
 
3. Iruvar (1997): Mani Ratnam-directed film allegedly sought to portray the rivalry between cinestars-turned-politicians MG Ramachandran and M Karunanidhi. There was also an allegation that Aishwarya Rai was cast as J Jayalalithaa. There were protests all over Tamil Nadu. The film was initially denied permission and was finally cleared after deleting a few dialogues.
 
4. Kaum di Heere (2014): The Punjabi film allegedly sought to glorify the assassins of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Both the Congress and the BJP objected to the film. The film never found way to the theatre.
 
5. 31 October (2015): The plot of the film revolved around the anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The Congress wanted a ban on it. It could be released only after a court battle. The Censor board chopped off several scenes before the release of the film last year.
 
6.Sikkim (1971): Satyajit Ray’s documentary was commissioned by the erstwhile King of Sikkim. When Sikkim merged with India in 1975, the film was sent to cold storage as it was felt that Ray glorified the sovereign kingdom of Sikkim. In 2010, finally, the UPA government decided to allow its public show. It was the only film of Ray that faced ban for political reasons.