Quiz: Censorship and Bans

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on January 20, 2018


In keeping with the cover story and to celebrate a great escape from the censor boards, this week’s quiz is on censorship and bans.


1 Which Indian Information and Broadcasting minister banned Kishore Kumar’s songs from All India Radio after he refused to sing at an Indira Gandhi rally in Bombay?

2 What is banned in Mackinac Island, Michigan; Sark, UK; Fes el-Bali, Morocco; Hydra, Greece and Zermatt, Switzerland? The list is not exhaustive and growing.

3 Which film, supposedly based on the Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders in the mid-’70s, never got released after running into serial trouble with the Censor Board in 1997?

4 In 2010, Ashvin Kumar, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker and an old boy from one of India’s best-known educational institutions, was chosen by his alma mater to make a film about it. The resulting film, which touched upon sensitive topics like ragging and drugs, was deemed too controversial and authorities refused to allow him to exhibit the film, which is now only available virally. Name the institution in question.

5 This controversial book, written in the first person and set in France in the ’30s, was described by a US judge as “not a book. It is a cesspool, an open sewer, a pit of putrefaction, a slimy gathering of all that is rotten in the debris of human depravity.” Name this book, which was banned well into the ’50s.

6 As a result of the landmark Loving versus Virginia case, the US Supreme Court overturned which archaic law that banned a particular activity?

7 The song ‘Lola’ was one of the biggest hits of the Kinks. While the lyrics were considered suggestive, it was banned by the BBC for a completely different reason. Why did they force the group to rerecord the song?

8 As of May 28, 2016, what specific products have been banned from advertising on Pakistani media as their regulator — the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority — felt they prompted ‘curiosity in innocent children’?

9 Which film, based on a bestselling book, was not released in India in 2011 as the director David Fincher refused to accept the cuts demanded by Indian Censor authorities?

10 In what way does a Starbucks outlet look different in Saudi Arabia?


1. VC Shukla

2. Cars and other motorised vehicles

3. Paanch, directed by Anurag Kashyap. Interestingly, the music for the film was done by Vishal Bharsdwaj

4. Doon School, the film was titled ‘Dazed In Doon’

5. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

6. The Miscegenation Law, which banned marriages between people of different races

7. There was a mention of the brand Coca Cola. The BBC did not allow any brands to be mentioned in the song, which had to be changed to Cherry Cola

8. Contraceptives

9. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, based on Stieg Larsson’s bestselling book of the same name

10. The mermaid is missing as the government authorities felt it showed too much flesh. Interestingly, the Ikea catalogue for Saudi Arabia has all the women photoshopped out

Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster and Project Director, FIFA U-17 World Cup

Follow Joy on Twitter @joybhattacharj

Published on June 24, 2016

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