It’s the country that gave the world the Kama Sutra, but India’s notoriously prudish film board has ruled that long kissing scenes in the new James Bond movie Spectre are not suitable for Indian audiences.
The Mumbai-based Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has reined in the fictional British spy’s famously lusty romantic life by cutting the length of two passionate embrace scenes, its chairperson told AFP.
“We have reduced them,” CBFC head Pahlaj Nihalani said, referring to separate kissing scenes between Daniel Craig, who plays Bond, and his co-stars Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux. “Our work is for censoring the movie according to the rating of the film so we have done that,” Nihalani said of Spectre, which hits screens in India on Friday.
Nihalani said the film had been given an unrestricted adult rating, which means parental guidance is required for children under 12 years old. A source at Sony Pictures Entertainment confirmed to AFP that the edits had been made.
“Two kissing scenes have been reduced by a few seconds,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that two swear words had also been deleted.
Nihalani said the film’s promoters had the right to object to the edits but had not done so. India’s censors have a long history of barring movies and cutting scenes, including those that are deemed too racy or may cause religious offence, with filmmakers accusing censors of intolerance.
Earlier this year the CBFC blocked the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in India, despite being shown a toned-down version of the erotic movie. Dissenting CBFC board member Ashoke Pandit earlier this year called Nihalani a “tyrant,” and on Wednesday tweeted his displeasure at the edits made to the new Bond film.
“Spectre is an internationally applauded film, [but] again #PahlajNihalani messes it up by shading it with his own thought process #JamesBond,” he wrote.
The decision sparked a frenzy on social media, with many Twitter users mocking the move. “Censor Board is clear. Make in India? Good good. Make out in India? NEVER,” tweeted Ramesh Srivats, referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan to attract foreign investment.
The hashtag #SanskariJamesBond, meaning ‘virtuous’ in Hindi, trended on Twitter with users sharing Internet memes portraying a more demure Agent 007, sometimes dressed in traditional Indian attire. A still from Casino Royale, in which Craig emerges from the sea wearing tight blue speedos, was doctored so that his torso was covered by an orange ceremonial scarf.
Another showed Craig with an ash pattern on his forehead, much like a Hindu holy man, while one compared bikini-clad Bond girl Ursula Andress with a “#SanskariJamesBond” girl in a sari.