Page last updated at 08:49 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 09:49 UK

Slumdog 'smuggle' risk to cinema

Scene from Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of children who raise themselves out of poverty through an Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Parents trying to "smuggle" their young children into screenings of Slumdog Millionaire could lose a cinema its licence, an arts organisation warned.

Operators of the Screen Machine - the UK's only mobile cinema - said they had never known of so many attempts to get under-age children into a film.

They said an 11-year-old tried to get in to see the certificate 15 movie by hiding behind his grandparents.

Slumdog Millionaire directed by Danny Boyle won eight Oscars.

In 11 years of touring, we've never had so many parents trying to get their under-age children into a 15 movie
Robert Livingston

The Screen Machine tours the Highlands and Islands and ownership of it is about to shift from Hi-Arts to an organisation it set up called Regional Screen Scotland.

Robert Livingston, from Hi-Arts, said it appeared it was the children who wanted to see the film, rather than a problem of finding babysitters while the parents went out.

He said it was a mystery to him why the film had captured the attention of so many young children.

Mr Livingston said: "Previously, we've had children trying to get into the film I am Legend, which was more understandable because it has got Will Smith in it and vampires."

He first highlighted the problem in his blog on the Hi-Arts website.

Question: Who can watch a 15 certificate film according to the BBFC?
A. Any child accompanied by an adult?
B. Teenagers accompanied by an adult?
C. Viewers aged 15 years and over?
Anyone aged 15 and younger?
Answer: C

In his blog, he wrote: "There are always some youngsters who try to get round the age limits of the film certificates, but in 11 years of touring, we've never had so many parents trying to get their under-age children into a 15 movie.

"Some of the children involved have been as young as eight.

"One father, despite being firmly warned when making his telephone booking, tried on the night to smuggle in his 11-year-old, hidden by the boy's grandparents. Some parents have denied even knowing what the film certificate meant, saying things like 'Oh, I've always wondered what that number after the film title was for'."

He said the British Board of Film Classification explained on its website the reasons behind film certification.

Slumdog Millionaire features a group of children's fight for survival in the slums of Mumbai and India's version of the quiz show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

Its scenes of violence include mutilation.

The film stars Dev Patel as Jamal, Freida Pinto as Latika - the girl he falls in love with - and Anil Kapoor as quiz master Prem.

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