MUMBAI, India – After nearly two weeks of deliberations, India’s Supreme Court has ruled that one sex scene must be cut and two others shortened if “Kama Sutra” is to be shown in this country.
The decision comes after director Mira Nair (“Salaam Bombay!,” “Mississippi Masala”) appealed the decision of India’s official pic censors.
The Indian Central Board of Film Certification, which has unilateral power to ban films it deems objectionable, took issue with the film’s sexual content. In November, the panel demanded eight cuts, five of which Nair agreed to make. She appealed the other three cuts to the high court.
According to the court’s 15-page ruling last, scenes in which bare breasts and buttocks are seen must be reduced to seconds of screen time, and there may be no frontal nudity.
Nair told Daily Variety that she and R. Mohan, head of India’s distrib Shogun Films, will decide in the next few days whether to release the film here or not. India’s domestic film industry is healthy, and the publicity generated by the censorship flap gives the pic a solid shot at drawing auds, cuts or no cuts.
“I have spent four long months,” Nair said, “battling the labyrinth of bureaucracy surrounding the release of my film in India.” Nair said the battle was particularly frustrating because “India is my country, and I would like to center my films here.”
In the United States, the film’s distributor, Trimark Pictures, is awaiting a rating from the Motion Picture Assn. of America.