An RTI response has revealed that CBFC banned 586 Indian films and 207 Foreign Films in the last 16 years. Among these, there were 17 Punjabi Films which were banned. Apart from the censor board, some films faced objection from certain political and religious groups as well. Most of the banned Punjabi films were based on the militancy period and few of them were based on religious history. Some of the below-mentioned films were banned during the first trial, but after some cuts managed to release in India, while some could release theatrically only overseas.
Sadda Haq (2013) starring Kuljinder Sidhu, Dev Kharoud, Himanshi Khurana
Sadda Haq was one of the first Punjabi films which was based on post-1984 incidents. The film faced a lot of hurdles before its release. First they had a tough time with Censor Board and after getting a clearance certificate, the film got banned by the government. Makers went to the Supreme court to fight against this ban and finally, the film got released much after its planned date. It was a well-researched film which did well at the box office.
Kaum De Heere (2014) starring Sukhdeep Singh, Raj Kakra, Sardar Sohi
Indian Censor Board said the film glorified the two Sikh bodyguards who assassinated Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to avenge the army attack on the Golden Temple. Makers later avoided the name of the then Prime Minister in the film. Being banned in India, it could only release in the overseas market and did well there.
Kaum De Heere 2 (2015) starring Sukhdeep Singh, Annie Sekhon
Sequel to Kaum De Heere, it too faced hardships in the hands of the censor board. So could only release overseas like its prequel.
Toofan Singh (2017) starring Ranjit Bawa, Raza Murad, Sunita Dhir
Toofan Singh was based on the militant, who went on to kill corrupt cops and politicians. Film's director Gurcharan Virk passed away before the film's release. It was supposed to be the debut film of Ranjit Bawa, but Censor Board Chief Pahlaj Nihlani refused to pass it. The film performed well in the overseas market but is yet to see a release in India.
The Mastermind Jinda Sukha starring Guggu Gill, Nav Bajwa, Sonpreet Jawandha
It was another film based on two real life militants Harjinder Singh Jinda & Sukhdev Singh Sukha. The film was first cleared by the censor board, but Home Ministry had objections over the film. Like other films, this one too could only release in the overseas market.
Nanak Shah Fakir (2018) starring Arif Zakaria, Adil Hussain
Based on the life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, this film went in to troubles when it was out in the media that the makers have given Guru sahib a human form (an actor was playing him) in certain parts of the film. While the makers maintained their stand that they used computer graphics only. Cleared by Censor Board, the film was completely banned in Punjab by SGPC.
Ik Onkar (2017) starring Shavinder Mahal, Harpreet Singh
It also talked about the dark pages of Punjab's history. It was banned by CBFC but surprisingly the film is now available on YouTube.
Do Bol (2015) starring Sonpreet Jawandha, Himanshi Khurana
This one went through the same fate in the hands of CBFC. In fact, even its trailer was not passed by them. The film did release in the overseas market.
Baaghi (2006) starring Om Puri, Paramvir, Gurleen Chopra, Sardar Sohi, Girja Shankar
Planned in 1999, this film was produced by Harinder Singh Deol, husband of legendary Punjabi film actress Daljit Kaur. It remained in cans after Harinder Singh's death but was soon revived. It faced objections due to a revolt by scheduled cast parties and people. It found some relief when it went on to win the National Award, and Punjab Govt passed the film after minor cuts.
Dilli 1984 (2014) starring Guggu Gill, Rama Vij, Gurdeep Mehndi
Based on the struggle of Sikh Genocide survivor Bibi Jagdish Kaur, Dilli 1984 was denied clearance certificate by CBFC. Daler Mehndi's son Gurdeep made his Punjabi acting debut with the film. This film released smoothly outside India.
Patta Patta Singha Da Vairi (2015) starring Raj Kakra, Jonita Doda, Nitu Pandher
It was based on militant movement in the period of 1980s and 1990s. This film was also denied clearance by CBFC but it did release in the overseas market on the scheduled date.
47 to 84 (2014) starring Zafar Dhillon, Ashish Duggal
As the title suggests, it was based on the sufferings of people during 1947 and 1984, respectively. The film was almost banned by CBFC but fortunately, during its second trial with revision committee, it was passed with a few cuts.
Oh My Piyo Ji (2014) starring Binnu Dhillon, Babbal Rai, Bhanushree Mehra
Though the film had nothing to do with the censor board and neither was the subject controversial, but it was banned due to trouble between the producer and director. Soon the High court lifted the ban, and the film got released.
Blood Street (2015) starring Kul Sidhu, Sardar Sohi, Sonpreet Jawandha
Another film based on the dark period of Punjab. The CBFC refused to pass this film. It was supposed to release in 2014 but could release in 2015 only after a few cuts in the film.
Dharam Yudh Morcha (2016) Raj Kakra, Nitu Pandher, Victor John
It was the third film of lyricist-actor-singer Raj Kakra which was based on the militancy era of Punjab. This film was also banned by CBFC. It too could only release overseas.
Shudra To Khalsa (2018) starring Nitu Pandher
Film based on religious ideology did no go down well with the censor board and was banned.
Kharkuwaad (unreleased) starring Preet Baath, Yograj Singh
If sources are to believe, this film is complete, but lying in the cans due to censorship issues.
Bhagat Singh Di Udeek (2017) starring Arsh Chawla, Sardar Sohi
This film was delayed due to some technical errors but when sent for a censor certificate, it faced rejection.
Besides the above-mentioned films Hindi Films like Amu and Hawaien, based on the 1984 mass killings, also faced issues with the censor board. In the past, almost 30-40 years ago, a film titled Sawa Lakh Se Ek Ladau/Raj Karega Khalsa (1976-1978) starring Dara Singh, Naveen Nishchal, Yogita Bali, Rajesh Khanna, Neetu Singh, which was directed and produced by Dara Singh faced hardships too. Dara Singh had a tough time dealing with the then Central Govt. (Congress) as it had an objection over the film's title Raj Karega Khalsa. Dara Singh changed the title to Sawa Lakh Se Ek Ladau but then Punjab based religious Groups had an issue with the film. He faced a lot of harassment in the hands of the censor board, the government and then the religious groups. Finally, when released, the film ran to packed houses but Dara Singh vowed never to work on religious Punjabi films again.
There was another film Jag Chanan Hoea (1986) starring Vijay Tandon, Ruby Singh, Mehar Mittal, which was also based on the time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It also faced objection from religious groups. Earlier it had some other title. Planned in the late 1970s, it released much later in mid 1980s with no buzz.
Coming to films which were banned in recent past, some of them are available on Youtube, and now with many movie apps, these films can now find a space to reach out to the audience.
(Pic Courtesy: GhaintPunjab)