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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 15:12 GMT
India's censors hire film sleuths
Indian film makers
India has a thriving film industry
India's Censor Board is planning to hire private detectives to keep tabs on whether cinemas are showing unauthorised material and flouting age classification rules.

A board official told the Indian Express that detectives will keep a watch on around 800 cinemas in Bombay, Delhi, Madras and Calcutta.

He said the most common censorship offence in Indian cinemas is the reinsertion of sex scenes that have been cut.

Many also allow underage people into movies with an "A" certificate - the equivalent of 18 in the UK - he added.

"We don't have the wherewithal to keep a vigil on cinema halls and see if they are following the rules," said the official.

"The detective agency will do it for us - it will create a fear psychosis."

The board plans to meet its regional officers in all four cities later this month to finalise the details of hiring the detectives.

This should include signing an annual contract with an agency for around 4.5m rupees (67,000).

Small cities

The detectives will be provided with a "cut list" for each film to help them recognise the scenes that were cut by the censors.

If a cinema is found to be showing unauthorised material, its manager will be taken to a local police station where charges will be filed.

But the effectiveness of the plan has been questioned by Paramount Films in India.

Serabjit Singh of Paramount told the paper that censorship offences "thrive" in small cities.

According to the board's statistics for last year, all but two of the 57 recorded incidents of contravention took place in small communities.

Meanwhile, leading Indian moviemaker Dev Anand has just completed making his new film called Censor.

The movie, due for release in March, centres around a film-maker involved in an argument with the board.

"Censor is an attempt to make the audiences aware of the problems faced by the censor board and the problems of the makers too. This film will enlighten a lot of people," said Anand.

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