India's film censors lighten up

Clears more films uncut in 2007

NEW DELHI -- India's film censors appear to be lightening up, clearing more films uncut in 2007 than in the previous two years.

The Central Board of Film Certification refused certificates to just 11 films in 2007 and cleared 1,507, including 361 imports, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said last weekcq. This compares with 59 films refused in 2006, when 1,427 films cleared.

If refused once, producers can appeal and take their films to court, which usually results in a release with cuts, a board spokesman in Mumbai said Friday.

Censors cut 395 films in 2007, compared with 453 in 2006 and 473 in 2005. A list of which films were refused and which passed with cuts was not given.

Censors gauge films based on guidelines most recently revised in 1991, barring films showing "pointless or avoidable scenes of violence" and other scenes that "may have the effect of desensitizing or dehumanizing people."

Also limited are scenes "degrading" women or "showing sexual perversions" unless they are deemed "germane to the film's theme."

One of the most high-profile cases in recent years was "The Da Vinci Code," which cleared uncut on the condition it carry a disclaimer stating that it was a work of fiction following protests by Christian groups.