Elizabethan sex and violence too strong for Indian censor

INDIA'S CENSORS are threatening to deny audiences in the director's home country the opportunity to see the highly acclaimed, Oscar-nominated, historical-drama Elizabeth.

Shekhar Kapur was forced to withdraw the film from a special premiere for India's President, Prime Minister and invited guests next week while he battles with the censors over cuts to scenes of nudity, sex and foul language.

The director, who won plaudits for the historical accuracy of the film, has now issued an ultimatum: audiences in India will not see the film at all unless they can view the uncut version.

Kapur has crossed swords with the Indian censor before. A rape scene in Bandit Queen, depicting the life of gang-leader Phoolan Devi, generated huge amounts of controversy. But he is not alone in falling foul of the censor board. Indian directors who have made films for international audiences have been particularly susceptible. Most recently, Kama Sutra and Fire - which featured nudity and lesbian sex - became embroiled in protracted legal battles over proposed cuts.

The gala premiere of Elizabeth, scheduled for next Tuesday - at the behest of the Indian President Kocheril Raman Narayanan, who has seen the film already - has now been downgraded to a private showing at the British Council. The stars, Joseph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett, who won a Bafta award and an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Elizabeth I, have decided that they still wish to travel to India for the event.

Kapur will shortly lodge an appeal against the censor board's three major cuts, which would allow the film an adult certificate. A passionate scene between the Duke of Norfolk and Elizabeth led the censor to demand that "visuals of a naked man moving over a woman on a bed" and "a woman's bare breasts" be deleted. But Sanjeev Bhargava, one of the Indian distributors, said its removal would wreck the structure.

"This cut would materially affect the form of the film and disrupt the flow of shots causing a jerk at a moment that requires incredible smoothness," Mr Bhargava said.

In another sequence judged unsuitable, the Duke of Anjou addresses Queen Elizabeth as "Your Qinny", an archaic slang reference to the female anatomy. Mr Bhargava defended the passage: "It's not vulgar in the context in which it is used in the film." A bloody scene of the executed Lord Arundel's head displayed on a spike also raised hackles, but without it the audience would not realise his identity or that Queen Elizabeth had ordered him put to death.

"The entire movie is about how Elizabeth grows from being naive and vulnerable to the ruthless, iron-willed woman who rules not only England and the church, but also lays the foundation for the later British conquest of the world," Mr Bhargava argued.

In a combative statement, Kapur threw down the gauntlet. "In view of the fact that the Censor Board of India has decided to demand cuts in Elizabeth that are unacceptable to me, I have asked the distributors to withdraw the film from any screening in India until the film is cleared without cuts.

"The cuts interfere with the understanding of the narrative, which is, in any case, very complex. I would rather people in India saw the film the way I intended the audiences all over the world to see it." Kapur may be gambling that the tactic worked for Steven Spielberg with Saving Private Ryan. The censor backed down after Spielberg said the film must be shown uncut or not at all.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week