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Fifty Shades of Grey banned by Indian censors despite sex scenes being edited out

Nudity and BDSM were removed from the $400m grossing film

Matilda Battersby
Thursday 05 March 2015 11:41 GMT
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Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal)

The Fifty Shades of Grey film has been banned in India – the country that gave the world ancient sex compendium the Kama Sutra.

India’s government censors will not allow Sam Taylor-Johnson’s big screen adaptation of EL James’ bestselling erotic novel to be shown in cinemas.

The ultra-conservative country follows Malaysia, Indonesia and Kenya in imposing a blanket ban. It also today announced an injunction on controversial Delhi bus rape documentary India’s Daughter - although many have defied it by watching on YouTube.

India’s chief executive of the Central Board of Film Certification, Shravan Kumar, declined to comment on why Fifty Shades has been vetoed, but it is likely concerning its sexual content.

Indian censors refused to approve the film adaptation but said Universal Pictures could appeal the decision.

A Universal Pictures source familiar with the review process told Reuters the board had objected to some of the film's dialogue.

The declined to pass the film for transmission even after it was edited to tone down sex scenes and remove all nudity.

The movie was awarded an 18 certificate in the UK because it contains scenes of BDSM.

The trilogy of books which sold more than 100 million copies worldwide were dubbed “mummy porn” in the press. The film, which first opened in February, has already grossed more than £262 million worldwide.

The story follows a tortured billionaire Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan in the film, and his would-be “submissive”, university student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson).

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

Universal Studios sources said the studio had already approached the relevant committee in India 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.

India's censor has faced considerable criticism lately. 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.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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