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Friday, November 28, 1997 Published at 06:50 GMT

image: [ BBC Correspondent: Flora Botsford ]Flora Botsford

A Sri Lankan cinema is giving special screenings of the film, Kama Sutra, for women only and has declared the experiment a success. The film, loosely based on the Indian love manual was reported to be making mixed crowds feel uncomfortable. Our Colombo correspondent, Flora Botsford, reports:

The film was heavily cut to satisfy the censors in Sri Lanka and issued with a government health warning that it was strictly for adults. But Kama Sutra remains more risque than the average cinema fare here and women's groups had complained, not about the film as might have been expected but that it was embarrassing to watch the steamier scenes with men in the audience.

So women only screenings were introduced as an experiment by the National Film Corporation. The manager of the Colombo cinema where Kama Sutra is being shown reported big crowds and an increase in profits for the first two days.

The film depicts the lives of two very different women, a princess and her servant girl and how they become entangled with the same man. They've both been taught the lessons of love contained in the ancient Indian Kama Sutra, an early sex manual. One gets to put the lessons into practice, the other doesn't.

Not surprisingly, it has been very popular with male cinemagoers, who are usually starved of explicit entertainment. When a recent film was shown about childbirth, Sri Lankan men queued up to see it. On television, even a soap opera kiss is smudged by the censors to avoid causing offence and on tourist beaches western girls in the usual holiday swimwear can attract a lot of unwelcome attention.

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