India's censor blocks 'Fifty Shades of Grey' from cinemas

Published March 5, 2015
Actors Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson from film 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. –Photo credit: mstarz.com
Actors Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson from film 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. –Photo credit: mstarz.com

MUMBAI: India's government censors have said they will not allow the big-screen adaptation of the erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” to be shown in Indian cinemas, a decision most had anticipated in the largely conservative country.

The chief executive of the Central Board of Film Certification, Shravan Kumar, declined to say why the panel refused to approve the film adaptation, but said Universal Pictures, the Comcast Corp unit that released the film, could appeal the decision.

A Universal Pictures source familiar with the review process said the board had objected to some of the film's dialogue, even after the studio made voluntary edits to the film to tone down its sex scenes and removed all nudity.

Read: Indian censors mute the word 'lesbian' from film Dum Laga Ke Haisha

The film first opened in February and has grossed at least $400 million in global sales. However, for some countries the kinky storyline was too much: Malaysia, Indonesia and Kenya have banned “Fifty Shades” from their theatres, largely because of its sexual content.

The film's distributor, Comcast Corp is also not pursuing a theatrical release in China, the world's second-largest film market, where the censors tend to ban sexually explicit films.

Universal Studios source said the studio had already approached the relevant committee at the central board to make its appeal. The source declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media about the censorship process.

The movie version of the best-selling 2011 novel stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as a couple in a sadomasochistic relationship.

India's censor has received much criticism in recent months. Leela Samson, who served several years as its chairman, quit in January after accusing the federal government of interfering in the board's decisions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government then unveiled a new-look censor board, which has since issued guidelines saying Indian films should not contain profanity.

In the case of a new Bollywood movie “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” (Give It All You've Got), the censor board asked that the word “lesbian” be purged from the film's dialogue.

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