by Nigel Akkara Nov 22 2023

Controversial Cinema: Banned Movies of 2023


In the ever-evolving landscape of cinema, some films push boundaries and challenge societal norms, leading to their outright banning in certain regions. The year 2023 has seen its fair share of controversial movies, sparking debates on freedom of expression, censorship, and the role of art in society. 

In this blog post, we will delve into some of the banned movies of 2023 that have stirred up controversy around the world.

Mammooty- Mammootty, the Mollywood Megastar, widely known as Mammooka, recently celebrated a significant success with Kannur Squad. Now, he is set to captivate his fans and cine-goers once again with Kaadhal: The Core. The film is scheduled for a big-screen release on November 23, 2023. However, a disappointing development arises as the movie faces a ban in Qatar and Kuwait due to its inclusion of homosexual content. This setback poses a significant challenge for the film’s business. We need to wait to see how the team will react to the issue.

Adding to the intrigue, actress Jyotika takes on the female lead in a Malayalam movie over a decade later. Directed by Joe Baby, renowned for The Great Indian Kitchen, the film is produced under the banners of Mammootty Kampany and Wayfarer Films. Mathews Pulickan takes on the role of the music director in this anticipated project.

The Barbie- The Barbie Movie is sure to be one of the biggest blockbuster movies of the year. Starring hugely popular actors like Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, and directed by the award-winning director Greta Gerwig, the movie has been highly promoted across all media. For those of you who don’t know, the movie is the first live-action barbie movie inspired by the fashion doll called Barbie. Barbies have been described as the world’s most popular doll and one of the most well-known children’s toys of all time.

In fact, Barbies revolutionised the toy industry – they popularised the trend of accessories for your toys and dolls. Rather than simply buying a doll for a child, you could buy clothes, houses, cars, and more to customise your Barbie. 

Vietnam’s National Film Evaluation Council, after reviewing the Barbie movie, found one scene so offensive and controversial that they have banned the entire film!

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have banned the movie Barbie from cinema screening. In Saudi Arabia, the culture ministry's announcement on August 9 cited violations of laws and values, asserting that certain scenes within the film mocked the sanctity of marriage and family, and insulted Islamic beliefs.Kuwait banned the film in a bid to protect public ethics and social traditions.

Meanwhile there is a lot of pressure in Lebanon to ban the film. Lebanon's culture minister Mohammad Mortada criticised the movie, saying it "contradicts values of faith and morality" by diminishing the importance of the family unit.

Spider Man: Across the Spider Verse- The film got banned in Bahrain due to containing frames which feature a trans gender flag on which the phrase “Protest Trans Kids” is displayed.

Faraaz- Faraaz, directed by Hansal Mehta, was released on February 3, 2023, in India and received mixed reviews from critics. This film is based on the 2016 Dhaka attack wherein 29 people were killed, including 20 hostages (17 foreigners and 3 locals), two police officers, five gunmen, and two bakery staff. Ruba Ahmed, the mother of Abinta Kabir, who was killed by militants in the Holey Artisan Attack on July 1, 2016, filed the writ on February 12, 2023. After hearing that writ petition, the High Court delivered this order to ban this misleading film in Bangladesh.

No More Bets- Banned for seriously damages Cambodia's image and reputation


While banned movies often face criticism for their controversial content, they also serve as a mirror reflecting the complexities of our society. The prohibition of these films raises important questions about freedom of expression, censorship, and the role of art in challenging societal norms. As we navigate the intricate relationship between cinema and censorship, it is essential to engage in open discussions that allow diverse perspectives to coexist. After all, it is through these conversations that we can better understand the impact of art on society and vice versa.

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