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Timeline of Art Censorship

Art is a popular target of censorship. It includes banning movies which are deemed offensive to a few individuals to banning paintings or sculptures which could potentially hurt sentiments of a religious group. . The Cinematograph Act, 1952 and rules notified therein govern the public exhibition of films. The Programme and Advertising Code prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, governs the broadcast of films on television. The timeline provides instances wherein unwarranted restrictions were imposed on various forms of arts including paintings, movies, videos, sculptures etc.If you feel we have missed out on reporting any instance of art censorship, please use the report button to tell us more.

 

2021

Name : Granting of certification to the film Maradu 357 Sandeep Mehta and Ors v. Union of India and Ors.


Why was it banned? : The petitioners were builders of the apartment, which was the subject matter of the film, and they claimed that the movie would unfairly prejudice their right to a fair trial.


State : All over India

Description : The Kerala High Court directed the Central Government to take into account the representation made by the aggrieved parties due to the grant of a censor certification to the film, under S.5E or S.6 of the Cinematograph Act.


Source : https://www.livelaw.in/pdf_upload/sandeep-mehta-v-union-of-india-391101.pdf

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2021

Name : Stay on the release of the Film Haathi Mere Saathi Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Limited v. Eros International Media Limited And Anr


Why was it banned? : Filed by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, the application for interlocutory injunction was filed seeking a stay on the release of this film, on grounds that the movie had denigrated its registered trademark ‘DRL’ [it depicted the destruction of an elephant corridor to build the ‘DRL Township’].


State : All over India

Description : The Delhi High Court held that no prima facie case could be made out in this regard, of irreparable loss if the movie would be released. It said that the trademark was in fact only in the ‘proposed to be used’ category, and petitioner hadn’t shown actual use of the mark until the date of filing of the suit. For the present case, it noted, the acronym ‘DRL’ hadn’t yet acquired the status of a brandmark associated only with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. Moreover, the fictious ‘Drishti Refineries Limited’ was shown in the movie as the builder of the township, it was not referring to the plaintiff. The court also noted the delay in approaching the court as grounds of rejecting the injunction.


Source : https://www.livelaw.in/pdf_upload/haathi-mere-saathi-delhi-high-court-391098.pdf

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2021

Name : ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’  and Gangubai Kathiawadi  [NOT A BAN, but still a restriction on art as a mode of free speech]


Why was it banned? : Criminal Defamation complaint filed against the authors of the book and the movie makers, for allegedly portraying the subject of the story, Ms. Kathiawadi, as a , “prostitute, brothel keeper and mafia queen in the film and the book.”, and also for representing her in the promo as smoking a bidi. Also, for causing harassment of the women allegedly associated with Ms. Kathiawadi in the past.


State : Process issued against the 5 accused for the offences u/s. 500-502 IPC, read with S.34 IPC.

Description : The Mumbai Metropolitan Court issued summons to the producers of the film and the authors of the book it was based on, Mafia Queens, owing to the criminal defamation allegations  against  them in a complaint filed by the purported son of Ms. Kathiawadi. The Metropolitan Magistrate said that even if Ms. Kathiawadi was a prostitute, it didn’t give ‘anybody’ the ‘permission’ to, “write to show or mention her as a prostitute in public.”


Source : https://www.livelaw.in/pdf_upload/gangabhai-kathiawadi-391049.pdf

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2021

Name : Plea seeking a ban on the movie Mumbai Saga –  Ravi Mahesh Bohra  and Ors. v. The State of Maharashtra and Ors.


Why was it banned? : Mr. Bohra and other members of the gangster Mr. Naik have alleged in this writ petition that the movie, based on their lives, violates their right to fair trial under Article 21 of the Constitution. 


State : No and-interim relief granted, and the writ got posted for hearing on April 29, 2021.

Description : They said that the 2005 case on preventing the release of the crime movie ‘Black Friday’, in Mushtaq Moosa Tarani vs. Government of India & Ors., would not be applicable in the instant case. While in that case the movie was based on a book that was the true story of Mumbai bomb blasts and the characters had the same names as actual personalities, it was not so here, though the trailer claimed that it was based on “true events”. 


Source : https://www.livelaw.in/pdf_upload/ordjud-2021-03-18t201429071-390797.pdf

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2021

 
 
Name : FIR against Kangana Ranaut 

Why was it banned? : For copyright violation in Manikarnika: The Legend of Didda

State : All over India
 

Description : FIR was registered based on a private complaint made to a magistrate under the sections relating to criminal breach of trust and copyright infringement. The VP of Zee Network claimed a copyright violation against Ms. Ranaut when she indicated her intention to begin filming the Manikarnika sequel.

Source : https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/ambani-explosives-scare-thane-sessions-court-denies-interim-protection-to-api-sachin-waze-in-suv-car-owners-murder-171127?infinitescroll=1
 

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2021

 
 
Name : National Commission for Protection of Child Rights sent notice to Netflix to prevent streaming of Bombay Begums

Why was it banned? : For inappropriate depictions of children in the series in casual sex and drug abuse. 

State : All over India
 

Description : The NCPCR took cognizance of online tweets highlighting this depiction by virtue of its powers under S.13(1)(j) of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005. It stated that failure to remove the series would mean that NCPCR would initiate legal proceedings against Netflix.

Source : https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/ncpcr-asks-netflix-to-stop-streaming-bombay-begums-171053
 

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2021

 
 
Name : The ‘Tandav’ Controversy  Aparna Purohit v. State of UP and Anr. CR.P.C. No. - 1794 of 2021

Why was it banned? : For hurting religious sentiments of the Hindu Community

State : -
 

Description : Ms. Purohit is Amazon Prime Video’s India Head, which came out with the controversial TV series Tandav. The show was alleged to have depicted Hindu gods in a poor light, for which she was booked under offences relating to cyber terrorism and transmitting obscene content under the IT Act, and for promoting inter-group enmity and religious hatred under the IPC. Previously in Feb 2021, she had been denied anticipatory bail by the High Court on grounds that, similar to the Munawar Farooqui incident, the ‘liberal tradition’ of India was abused by such people to hurt the religious sentiments of the majority religious community.  Later, the High Court had ordered the State government against taking any coercive action against Ms. Purohit.  She had also obtained interim protection orders from the Supreme Court against another FIR registered against her over the same issue. The HC extended interim protection from arrest to Ms. Purohit. The Lucknow police has been directed to continue investigations and the matter was listed for 6 April 2021.

Source : https://www.livelaw.in/pdf_upload/tandav-row-allahabad-high-court-extends-interim-protection-from-arrest-for-amazon-content-head-aparna-purohit-in-lucknow-fir-till-april-6-390358.pdf
 

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2020

 
 
Name : Netflix Bad Boy Billionaires: India

Why was it banned? : Invasion of Privacy

State : All over India
 

Description : A restricting injunction was filed against the airing of the docu-series based on a petition filed by Satyam founder B. Ramalinga Raju, who features in the series. NEtflix later aired 3 other episodes of the series but not the one containing Ramalinga Raju.

Source : https://www.businessinsider.in/entertainment/news/hyderabad-court-stays-release-of-netflixs-bad-boy-billionaires-india-following-ramalinga-rajus-objections/articleshow/77886552.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
 

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2020

 
 
Name : Netflix Bad Boy Billionaires: India

Why was it banned? : Malign the petitioner's image and adversely affect his company

State : All over India
 

Description : An interim stay on transmission of the series using the name of Subrata Roy, Chairman of Sahara India till the appearance of Netflix’s counsels before the Court.

Source : https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/media/entertainment/netflix-series-choksis-plea-rejected-bihar-court-restrains-use-of-sahara-chiefs-name/articleshow/77813229.cms?from=mdr
 

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2020

 
 
Name : Chanda: A Signature that Ruined a Career"

Why was it banned? : Defamatory

State : All over India
 

Description : The screening, exhibiting or marketing of the film based on the life of the plaintiff- former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kocher was prohibited by the court till the next hearing set for November, 2020.

Source : https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/delhi-court-orders-stay-on-movie-based-on-chanda-kochhars-life-2137548
 

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2020

 
 
Name : Gunjan Saxena- The Kargil Girl

Why was it banned? : Allegedly portrayed the ministry of defense as sexist and distorted facts

State : All over India
 

Description : The Ministry of Defense had filed a plea seeking immediate withdrawal of the film from all OTT platforms and the right to sue the producers for damage. The court dismissed the plea stating that the MOD was was big enough to protect their reputation.

Source : https://indianexpress.com/article/india/delhi-high-court-refuses-stay-on-gunjan-saxena-biopic-6580873/
 

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2020

 
 
Name : Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

Why was it banned? : Critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

State : All over India
 

Description : Disney owned Hotstar blocked an episode(S7E3) of John Oliver's talk show in India which was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP and the RSS. It has not been available on the streaming platform.

Source : https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiq--XxhqbsAhX-IbcAHTBRAxoQFjABegQIBRAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thehindu.com%2Fentertainment%2Fhotstar-blocks-john-olivers-last-week-tonight-episode-criticising-narendra-modi%2Farticle30920096.ece&usg=AOvVaw1PsI-RLlkKYEbLquLyLJiV
 

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2020

 
 
Name : Madam Secretary

Why was it banned? : India-Pakistan relation and Kashmir

State : All over India
 

Description : Amazon Prime deleted an episode of CBS show Madam Secretary which deals with Hindu nationalism and Kashmir. . Indian subscribers of Prime Video cannot access the first episode of the show’s fifth season (originally aired 7 October 2018).

Source : https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/in-act-of-self-censorship-amazon-prime-deletes-episode-of-cbs-show-madam-secretary-which-deals-with-hindu-nationalism-and-kashmir-7673661.html
 

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2020

 
 
Name : Mission Impossible: Fall Out

Why was it banned? : Not Provided

State : all over India
 

Description : Netflix chose to air the Indian Censor board certified version of Mission: Impossible – Fallout on its platform in India, which erases all mentions of the Kashmir region, be it the words “Kashmir” or “Indian-controlled Kashmir”, or a map of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state.

Source : https://gadgets.ndtv.com/entertainment/news/mission-impossible-fallout-netflix-india-censorship-kashmir-theatrical-cbfc-hindi-dub-2252960
 

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2019

 
 
Name : FIR against Netflix

Why was it banned? : Defaming India and hurting Hindu sentiments

State : Not Provided
 

Description : Shiv Sena IT cell head Ramesh Solanki filed an FIR with the Mumbai Police against Netflix India, alleging that the OTT service was airing hindu-phobic shows to malign the image of India globally. He cited Ghoul, Sacred Games and Hasan Minaj's Patriot Act as the offensive content. The case is still pending.

Source : https://www.indiatoday.in/television/top-stories/story/shiv-sena-member-accuses-netflix-of-defaming-hindus-and-india-files-police-complaint-1595332-2019-09-04
 

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2019

 
 
Name : Bhobishoter Bhoot

Why was it banned? : Fear of mob-reprisal

State : West Bengal
 

Description : The film was pulled out of theatres a day after its release. The Supreme Court directed the State to allow the airing of the film without obstruction a month later, based on a plea filed by the producers. The government was fined one lakh and had to pay Rs 20 lakhs to the producers for its virtual ban later that year.

Source : Not Provided
 

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2018

 
 
Name : Sacred Games

Why was it banned? : Defaming former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi In a dialogue

State : All over India
 

Description : Three complaints were filed against the producers of the show by Congress party members, and two were subsequently withdrawn. A single petition went to the Delhi Court which dismissed the petition stating it tantamounted to private injury. Netflix was given the choice to remove the dialogue if they wished to, and they chose to not.

Source : https://www.medianama.com/2018/08/223-delhi-high-court-netflix-refuses-to-censor-rajiv-gandhi-dialogue-in-sacred-games/
 

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2018

 
 
Name : Complaint against Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap

Why was it banned? : Hurting Sikh Sentiments

State : All over India
 

Description : BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa filed a complaint at Parliament Police Station, Delhi against Anurag Kashyap, the director of the show for insulting Sikh sentiments. The case has not been resolved as of yet.

Source : https://www.firstpost.com/india/more-trouble-for-sacred-games-bjp-leader-files-plaint-against-anurag-kashyap-for-hurting-sentiments-of-hindus-sikhs-7195861.html
 

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2017

 
 
Name : Amazon Prime - American Gods

Why was it banned? : Offends religious sentiments

State : All over India
 

Description : Amazon Prime airs two different versions of American Gods, one specifically for Indian sensibilities which censors male nudity, and blocks mentions of cow-killing. While the uncensored version is also available on the platform, it requires a manual search and is not advertised.

Source : https://gadgets.ndtv.com/entertainment/news/amazon-prime-video-american-gods-censorship-beef-cow-killing-male-nudity-1691691
 

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2016

 
 
Name : Delhi High Court Asks Centre to Examine if Soft Porn Is Being Shown on Hotstar

Why was it banned? : Explicit content

State : All over India
 

Description : Based on a plea, the Delhi Court directed the centre to examine if Hotstar was airing soft-pornography on its streaming platform, in contravention to internet protocols and uplink/downlink guidelines.

Source : https://gadgets.ndtv.com/tv/news/delhi-high-court-asks-centre-to-examine-if-soft-porn-is-being-shown-on-hotstar-1627184
 

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2017

 
 
Name : S Durga

Why was it banned? : offensive content

State : All over India
 

Description : The film was denied permission for screening at the Mumbai Film Festival and the International Indian Film Festival by the ministry of Information and Broadcast. After the film got certification from CBFC (with 22 cuts and a change in the title) the film was aired in the MFF. The director filed a petition at the Kerela High Court about the IFFI ban, as per the verdict a revising censor board panel released the film for screenings without any cuts and S Durga as the title in 2018.

Source : https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/this-move-could-put-the-international-film-festival-of-india-face-to-face-with-one-of-its-biggest-scandals-yet/articleshow/61703629.cms
 

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2016

 
 
Name : Udta Punjab

Why was it banned? : offensive content

State : All over India
 

Description : The Censor Board of India had asked for 89 cuts on the film before its release. The director Anurag Kashyap filed a plea in the Bombay High Court, which scrapped all the cuts except one.

Source : https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/udtapunjab-creative-freedom-wins-bombay-hc-chops-only-one-scene-in-a-film/articleshow/52728482.cms
 

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2016

 
 
Name : Grand Tour

Why was it banned? : Offends religious sentiments

State : All over India
 

Description : The Amazon original cuts an hour long episode nearly by half when being aired in India because it features beef in a sequence about meat-mobiles.

Source : https://gadgets.ndtv.com/tv/features/behind-the-scenes-with-indian-tv-channels-self-censors-874695
 

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2017

 
 
Name : Jolly LLB 2

Why was it banned? : Negative portrayal of lawyers

State : All over India
 

Description : A lawyer filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court for the deletion of certain scenes that undermined the “solemnity and gravitas” of a judge’s seat The High Court proposed a review committee to view the film, but the producers appealed to the Supreme Court for relief. The SC however, did not interfere with the committee’s functioning,and according to the committee report, the director had to make 4 cuts and scene edits and then get the film re-certified for the petition to be withdrawn.

Source : https://www.indiatoday.in/movies/bollywood/story/jolly-llb-2-akshay-kumar-huma-qureshi-court-case-959277-2017-02-06
 

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2006

 
 
Name : Slayers: Christ Illusion

Why was it banned? : Hurt Christian and Muslim sentiments

State : All over India
 

Description : Following protests by Christian groups, all stocks of the album were recalled by the band's Indian label- EMI and destroyed. It has not been sold in India even after the offensive album cover was replaced with a censored version, especially given certain songs contained themes that offended religious sentiments.

Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6039976.stm
 

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