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.

Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Life and Style
fashion

British supermodel and hitmaker join forces to launch a 'huge song'

News
news

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announce they are set to welcome second child in spring

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually a challenging and nuanced title

Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
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

NQT Job Opportunties in Winsford

£85 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teac...

Year 3 Teachers needed for supply roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Year 1 Teachers needed for day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Year 2 Teachers needed for day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past