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From ‘Unfreedom’ to ‘Paanch’: Check 7 banned Indian films available on OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar

The films that dealt with the themes of sexuality, religion or a topic of taboo either had to fight for a release or were simply not allowed to get a theatrical release.

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New Delhi: There are a number of films which were banned by the Censor Board of Film Certification citing different reasons. The rise of the OTT platforms has given more freedom of expression to filmmakers. The films that dealt with the themes of sexuality, religion or a topic of taboo either had to fight for a release or were simply not allowed to get a theatrical release. The time and the circumstances have changed to some extent.

While one can debate about tolerance as far as the films and web series content is concerned, makers are allowed can find different platforms to have a voice. Here is a list of 7 films that were banned in the theatres but are available on OTT today:

1. Unfreedom

One of the most talked about films, which showcased a lesbian couple and had a terrorism angle to the story was banned in 2014. The film never made it to the theatres but is available on Netflix.

‘Unfreedom’ followed a lesbian daughter who fights off an arranged marriage in India while a religious fundamentalist targets an anti-extremist scholar in New York. The film is directed by Raj Amit Kumar and stars Adil Hussain, Preeti Gupta, Bhavani Lee, and Victor Banerjee along with others.

2. Black Friday

black friday

Anurag Kashyap has some sort of relationship with bans (it can be seen in his film ‘No Smoking’). The film was based on the 1995 blasts and the investigation that followed later. It never made it to the theatres but is available on Disney+Hotstar.

The film is based on a book by Hussain Zaidi and stars Kay Kay Menon, Pawan Malhotra, Gajraj Rao, Aditya Srivastav and others.

3. Fire

The film dealt with the themes of homosexuality and religion in the 90s and faced the wrath of the media and the censor board. The film never made it to the theatres but is available on YouTube for the audience to watch.

Written and directed by Deepa Mehta, the film stars Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Karishma Jhalani, Dilip Mehta and Kulbhushan Kharbanda. The film followed Sita and Radha who are young Indian women whose husbands choose celibacy or mistresses over their wives. This leads to an intimate relationship between them in a closed-minded society.

4. Parzania

parzania movie

The film faced a ban for talking about religion and riots. ‘Parzania’, a film dealing with the 2002 Gujarat riots, is streaming on Disney+Hotstar. The film is directed by Rahul Dholakia and stars Naseeruddin Shah, Corin Nemec, Sheeba Chadha, Asif Basra, Sarika Thakura and Raj Zutshi.

‘Parzania’ followed a Parsi family struggling to find their son in a genocide during the 2002 Gujarat riots which broke out after the Godhra Train Burning incident.

5. Paanch

paanch movie

The first-ever feature film directed by Anurag Kashyap was never released in cinemas. The film is loosely based on the 1976–77 Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders in Pune. ‘Paanch’ is now streaming on Mubi.

The film featured Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastav, Vijay Maurya, Sharat Saxena, Joy Fernandes and others in the cast.

6. Bandit Queen

The film is based on the life of Phoolan Devi adapted from the book by Mala Sen. ‘Bandit Queen’ was released in theatres, but was pulled out after a short period. The film showed violence against women and talked about the themes of rape involving upper-caste men.

The film stars Seema Biswas as Phoolan Devi along with talented actors Raghivir Yadav, Manoj Bajpayee, Nirmal Yadav, Mandakini Goswami and others. ‘Bandit Queen’ is available on Amazon Prime Video.

7. Lipstick Under My Burkha

Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ faced an initial ban and now is available on Amazon Prime Video. The film is a great example of women telling women’s stories.

The film revolves around four women setting on a journey to discover freedom and happiness. The movie stars Aahana Kumar, Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma and Plabita Borthakur in the lead.

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