Rifts within India's movie censor panel spill into the open

Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:16am EDT
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A prominent member of India's government censors took to social media on Thursday to rail against its chairman, exposing rifts within a censorship panel that has thwarted the theatrical release of films such as Hollywood hit "Fifty Shades of Grey".

Ashoke Pandit, a Bollywood film-maker, accused censor chief Pahlaj Nihalani of treating India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) like his personal fiefdom.

"Films after films are becoming innocent victims of his mindless tyranny," Pandit wrote on his Facebook page.

"His ridiculous diktats and autocratic functioning has made CBFC a laughing stock."

In his post, Pandit cited "NH10", a Bollywood thriller about a young couple attacked by a gang while traveling on a highway.

The film, originally blocked by censors, opens in cinemas on Friday after its makers were asked to make nine cuts.

"The cuts have been levied in spite of the film-maker agreeing to an adult certificate," Pandit said, blaming Nihalani for taking the decision despite objections from panel members.

Nihalani was not available for comment.   Continued...

A film poster for "Fifty Shades of Grey" is pictured at Regal Theater in Los Angeles, California, February 12, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn