'Delhi Belly' finally gets clean chit in Nepal

Jul 6, 2011 Sudeshna Sarkar

Kathmandu, July 6 (IANS) After being put on hold for 48 hours following censors' objections to the expletives peppering its dialogues, Aamir Khan's home production "Delhi Belly" finally reappeared in Nepal's theatres Wednesday after the offending parts were addressed.

The Gopi Krishna Multiplex in Kathmandu, where the trouble started Sunday evening after police raided its theatres and seized prints of the Abhinay Deo-directed film, told IANS Wednesday that "Delhi Belly" was back on the menu after a written apology to the Film Censor Board by the owner of the theatre, Uddhav Poudel.

Poudel is also the sole distributor of the film in Nepal.

Poudel apologised to the censors, agreed to pay a fine of NRS 5,000 if required and gave an undertaking that he would not in future screen films flouting censors' recommendations.

Nepal's censors had agreed to clear "Delhi Belly" for viewing by theatre goers above 16 years provided the distributor saw to it that an offending scene showing one of the protagonists, played by Imran Khan, visiting a brothel, was cut and some expletives in two scenes muted.

Chetan Sapkota, one of the censors, said they had agreed to overlook the distributor flouting the recommendations in view of the financial loss he would incur if they called for stronger action. However, Sapkota warned that in future, the board would not show any leniency with films that promoted obscenity or vulgarity.

"Delhi Belly", which received good reviews by Nepal's press before it was taken off from Sunday evening, is likely to prosper from the bout with the censors that brought widespread publicity and whetted filmgoers' appetites.

Jai Nepal, another multiplex in Kathmandu, said they had been receiving calls since morning with people asking if the film was back.

Dharma Adhikari, associated with the Media Foundation, a non-profit research and policy initiative, said the "Delhi Belly" incident went deeper than the use of profanities in the dialogue.

"...The fact is, relations have strained in recent years between the censor board and the studios," Adhikari wrote in the Republica daily Wednesday.

Adhikari said that the recent amendments in the Film (Production, Exhibition and Distribution) Act of 2001 had increased the power of censors and imposed greater curbs on foreign films.

In the age of Internet explosion, the cuts in "Delhi Belly", Adhikari said, would not keep the scenes and words that the censors found offensive out of Nepal.

"Many don't have to go to Gopi Krishna (to watch the expurgated parts)," he said. "If they want, they can as well download in their personal devices the censored clips."

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Delhi Belly

Aamir Khan Pictures


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