Censorship: Criticisms faced by some great, yet, controversial books and movies!

Censorship | Movie | 30th November 2021 | Virtual Wire


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While the process of censoring can’t be termed as completely unnecessary, sometimes it can be a real pain in the you-know-where. And during these times, it seems appropriate to agree with those who oppose censoring.

Who firmly believe that there’s no need for any books or films to be censored or banned and if it may come across as offensive or inappropriate to anyone, they are most welcome to stay away from such artworks and hold their peace. Here are two books and two movies(respectively), which in spite of the criticisms, turned out to be loved and appreciated by their audience:

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

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Published in 2003, this book proved to be disastrous among the Christian community and was prohibited for being offensive toward Christianity, by Catholic leaders. Catholic leaders demanded that the book be withdrawn owing to its depiction of Christ marrying Mary Magdalene and fathering a child. The book was banned in Lebanon in 2004.

The novel is thus contentious, thanks to the theories mentioned by Dan Brown in the book, that the Holy Grail isn’t a cup however a person, (which is Mary Magdalene), that Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and they had a baby, thus Christ’s descendants are walking the world today. The book also states that the church has been covering up the reality regarding Christ’s wedding for nearly two thousand years now.

God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

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This modern-day classic, written by Arundhati Roy, published in 1997 won India’s first-ever Booker Prize. But not before Arundhati Roy was fiercely criticised for her books, which offends Hindu followers in India, as it is argued by many, that her books contain strong anti-national elements.

In India, her book “The God of small things”, was criticised especially for its explicit description of sexuality, with its portrayal of incest, something which is greatly frowned upon in India. E.K.Nayanar, the then Chief Minister of her home state Kerala, criticised her for the same, and she ended up answering charges of obscenity. In her books, she successfully depicts how colonialism and class hierarchy, proves harmful for the poor, something which reflects in the lives of her characters’.


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This 2018, Indian period drama became controversial during its production. The film tells the story of 14th Century Muslim emperor Alauddin Khilji’s attack on the Chittoor kingdom after he falls in love with or rather develops an obsession with the beauty of Queen Padmavati. Several Rajput caste organisations including Shri Rajput Karni Sena and its members, protested and vandalised the film sets and went as far as to assault the film’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali along with threatening the lead actress Deepika Padukone.

Their reasons for acting so was based on the rumours of a romantic scene between Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji. The mob claimed that the film aimed at portraying Queen Padmavati who is considered as a symbol of female honour among Rajput, in a bad light. Thus the film’s name was changed from “Padmavati” to “Padmavat”. When the movie was released, not only was there no such scene as the rumours said, but also Alauddin Khilji was not even able to get a glimpse of Padmavati in the whole film, and the criticisms and outrages were all for nothing.

Udta Punjab

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The film had been the centre of many controversies due to its excessive use of swearing and depictions of drug abuse before it was finally released in 2016. It was also believed that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had demanded 40 cuts to the film, including that of a song and a scene involving a character consuming drugs and one where the main character is shown urinating on a crowd.

This film revolves around the high rates of drug abuse by the majority of the population of youth in the Indian state of Punjab, so naturally, the film was held responsible for portraying Punjab in a bad light. Udta Punjab was criticised for questioning the sovereignty of India. The Bombay and Punjab and Haryana, High Court, however, dismissed the objections by stating that the film is neither showing Punjab in a bad light nor is it glorifying drug abuse in any way.

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