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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
'Obscene' Tamil film angers women
Poster for the film new
Cinemas say the protests have boosted ticket sales for New
Women activists in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have demanded a ban on a film, New, which they say contains obscene sex scenes.

The film is doing big business since its release last week.

It is based on the Hollywood movie, Big, depicting the adventures of a child who becomes an adult, yet retains the mind of a boy.

Critics say the similarity ends there, as the Tamil movie contains indecent images and "smutty dialogue".

Director's defence

A similar row erupted in June, when Hindu hardliners destroyed posters of a recent Bollywood film about lesbians, called Girlfriend.

Scene from 'Girlfriend'
The movie Girlfriend also outraged women's groups in India

The Tamil film has caused controversy because when the boy becomes an adult at night, he is seduced by his wife.

Our correspondent says that provides scope for steamy scenes and innuendo.

Members of the All India Democratic Women's Association have held a series of demonstrations demanding the withdrawal of the film, but theatre owners say the protests have only improved ticket sales.

The film's director and lead actor, MJ Surya, says there is nothing in it against women or children.

He says the sex scenes are there because the story line requires them.

He has described his film as "fiction laced with sex and comedy".

Last year there were protests in Tamil Nadu by women activists against the screening of another big budget film, Boys.

On that occasion the film's producers were forced to withdraw some scenes.

Hindu hardliners said the film Girlfriend was contradictory to Indian culture.

Women's groups said it was a "pornographic and stereotypical portrayal" of a lesbian relationship made entirely to give pleasure to heterosexual males.

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