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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
India's film censor wants to legalise porn
Still from Jagmohan Mundhra's film Bawandar
Jagmohan Mundhra's film Bawandar was heavily cut
India's chief censor has proposed legalising the country's pornographic film industry to allow the screening of hardcore movies in cinemas.

The Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Vijay Anand, who is also one of India's leading film producers, said the move would allow cinemas to compete with cable and satellite television.


Anything that titillates the libido will score big in the marketplace

Mahesh Bhatt
Bollywood producer-director
Almost every major city has cinemas which show adult movies illegally - usually at morning sessions.

"Porn is shown everywhere in India clandestinely... and the best way to fight this onslaught of blue movies is to show them openly in theatres with legally authorised licences," Mr Anand said.

The CBFC, which is a designated moral guardian of society, regularly orders directors to remove anything it deems offensive, including sex, nudity, violence or subjects considered politically subversive.

"There is a demand for such movies in India and we as censors cannot always keep a tap on pornography. By setting up such theatres we would offer an outlet to people who want to see such movies," he added.

Mixed feelings

The reaction to Mr Anand's proposals have been mixed.

"Anything that titillates the libido will score big in the marketplace," said well-known Bollywood producer-director Mahesh Bhatt.

"It's high time the government realises this and makes money by streamlining the illegal transactions of pornography," he added.

But veteran actress and member of parliament Vyjayantimala Bali criticised the plan.

"I, for one, believe that opening night clubs and permitting striptease shows was bad enough. We do not need any more permissiveness," Ms Bali said.

X-rated proposal

Mr Anand said the change could only happen if the law was changed through an act of parliament.

He hopes to submit his plan to the information and broadcasting ministry in the next two months.

"My understanding is that such movies sell only due to their curiosity value. After the initial hype people would not bother much for such movies," he said.

His proposals are based on European and US laws where such movie theatres are off-limits to children.

Indian films are currently categorised as "universal", "parental guidance" or "adult" but Mr Anand said he would extend the classifications to include an "X" rating.

Mr Anand was appointed chairman of the CBFC last September.

See also:

03 May 02 | Entertainment
18 Mar 02 | Entertainment
11 Feb 02 | South Asia
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