A BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat uprisings has stirred outrage and set off a political storm. But India: The Modi Question, a part of which scrutinizes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in supervisory the communal violence that swept his home state of Gujarat when he was the chief minister, isn’t the initial documentary to court controversy in India.
Here’s a look at some other movies that ruffled feathers and were faced with government clampdown:
Final Solution BBC
The Modi Question isn’t the first document of the 2002 Gujarat riots that stoked controversy. Decades before it came Final Solution. Directed by Rakesh Sharma, Final Solution put forth the case that the sectional violence in Gujarat had been carefully coordinated and planned. It was grounded on interviews with survivors and witnesses – on both sides of the shared divide.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) banned the textual for being “provocative” and over concerns that it can trigger communal violence and radicalism.
Sharma was described to have said that then censor board chairperson Anupam Kher, as a BJP supporter, did not give the textual clearance during the NDA regime. The ban was eventually lifted in October 2004, after the Congress-led UPA assumed headquarters at the Centre.
The documentary died on to win the National Award in the Special Jury Award (non-feature film) category. It also scooped up countless honors at international film festivals.
Another BBC documentary saw controversy in 2015. Leslee Udwin’s India’s Daughter, part of the BBC’s Storyville series, was grounded on the infamous Nirbhaya gang rape and murder in Delhi.
After excerpts of the movie, including parts of the interview with one of the rapists, Mukesh, was aired, police got a court vacation order prohibiting the broadcast of the documentary. BBC complied and didn’t shade it in India. When it was broadcast abroad and made its way to India through YouTube, the government focused on the video-sharing podium to block the documentary in India.