Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, ‘The Kashmir Files’ depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the Kashmir Valley in the 1990s. In India, various states including Madhya Pradesh and Assam have even granted leaves to government employees who are willing to watch the movie.
However, the audience has been divided over the movie. While a section of the audience praises the movie saying it has shown the real plight of the Kashmiri Pundits, some others believe the movie is biased and may disturb communal harmony. Many have demanded a ban on the screening of 'The Kashmir Files'. According to the censor board, it is legal for individuals above the age of 16 to watch a movie.
The politically-charged movie continues to be screened in India and abroad except a few nations such as the United Arab Emirates and Singapore where it is banned. Here’s a look at some other movies on communal riots which ran into trouble, and invited a ban.
Black Friday (2004)
Anurag Kashyap's critically acclaimed film, Black Friday was initially banned after running into trouble. Initially, it was not allowed to be released and screened by the Censor Board. It was granted a censorship certificate on the condition that the makers would insert a disclaimer right at the beginning of the screening of the movie that it was based on a book and did not impute any innocence or guilt on any of the personalities depicted in the film. Kashyap’s film was based on Black Friday – The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts, a book by Hussain Zaidi about the 1993 Bombay bombings. The film was finally allowed to be screened after three years.
Hava Aney Dey (2004)
The film by Partho Sen-Gupta, also known as Let The Wind Blow, depicts the arch rivalry between India and Pakistan. The movie is set in Mumbai and depicts the condition of the country during the new capitalist order. While there is a war in Pakistan, this movie tells the story of two brothers who are fighting for Kashmir. The Censor Board had suggested many cuts, reducing the movie by 20 minutes. Hence, the director decided to never have the film released.
Kaum De Heere (2014)
Directed by Ravinder Ravi, the movie is based on the lives of assassins of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was killed by her bodyguards Satwant Singh, Kehar Singh and Beant Singh in 1983. When the movie was to be released in 2014, the then Punjab Youth Congress president Vikramjit Chaudhary had protested and taken up the matter with Prime Minister’s Office. The movie was eventually banned as they felt that the film may cause communal tension in the country.
Nandita Das’s debut and the internationally critically acclaimed film was banned in Gujarat. Based on the post-Godhra riots, Firaaq won multiple international awards and was critically acclaimed at film festivals in various countries. Citing that the movie has the potential to create communal factionalism, the movie was not allowed to be screened in any single theatre in the state. Starring renowned actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Raghuveer Yadav, the film to date remains a subject of controversy due to its subject matter.
The film, set against the backdrop to the 1984 Sikh genocide, is banned in the Indian states of Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab. Directed by Ammtoje Mann, this film depicts real-life events and most of the situations shown are authentically seen through the eyes of the "Sarabjeet".
Delhi 1984 (2014)
The Central Board of Film Certification banned the screening of Dilli 1984. The movie is based on the life story of Bibi Jagdish Kaur, a Sikh widow, who had her entire family murdered during the 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms in New Delhi.
Alleging that the movie is not fit for public viewing, the board said that the movie will disturb the peace.
Directed by Rahul Dholakia, the movie is based on the true story of a Parsi boy named Azhar Mody. Azhar disappeared after the 28 February 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre, during the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002. Dholakia was deeply inspired by the personal tragedy of the family and hence went on to make the movie, tracing the journey of the family in locating their missing son. However, the Bajrang Dal had unofficially banned the movie and not a single theatre had screened it.