Horror film Ghost, which shows an evil spirit in female form being crucified, has been toned down to avoid offending country's Christians.
A horror movie cited as Bollywood’s most violent film of all time has been cut by Indian censors, according to reports. Members of the Central Board of Film Certification, the country’s regulatory film body, baulked at scenes in Puja Jatinder Bedi’s Ghost in which an evil spirit in female form is crucified, citing concerns that it would offend members of the country’s Christian minority.
Bedi has attacked the cuts to what she described as one of the film’s most important segments. “It’s a scene where the ghost gets crucified like Jesus Christ,” she told the Times of India. “The scene was very pivotal for the screenplay.”
The director added: “The censor board felt that the crucifixion would hurt religious sentiments of the Christian community. Also, the brutality was being perpetrated on a woman. The blood and gore content is high enough for Ghost to be rated as the most violent film ever. So, the censors have toned down all the murder sequences.”
However JP Singh, the censor board’s regional officer at Mumbai, denied the crucifixion sequence had been entirely removed, insisting that it remained in truncated form.
“That scene is still there in the film,” he told the Times. “Only its length has been shortened to reduce the impact of the extreme brutality shown on a girl. The examining committee has given five to six cuts. All of them were extremely brutal. There was a scene showing a dead body’s legs being cut. Another excessively violent scene showed a girl being beaten for a very long time by many people.”
Ghost stars disgraced Bollywood icon Shiney Ahuja, who was jailed for seven years in March for raping a domestic assistant. The Central Board of Film Certification has a history of censoring Bollywood fare in line with attitudes in a country that continues to maintain deeply conservative sections of society. In 2003, it banned the film Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror), Sridhar Rangayan’s film about Indian transsexuals, labelling it “vulgar and offensive”.
The movie remains banned in India nine years later, despite having been shown at film festivals around the world.—