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20 seconds snipped, Rang De set for rollout

Jan. 16: Rang De Basanti, the Aamir Khan-starrer that raised the eyebrows of the defence ministry and Maneka Gandhi, has been given the green signal.

The film, produced by Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV and directed by Rakeysh Mehra, has got the necessary censor certificate and is now set to release on January 26.

The defence ministry did not recommend any cut but there is a change in the dedication slide that comes at the end of the film. More names have been added to the slide that reportedly dedicates the film to “dead MiG pilots”.

The film revolves around five friends, one of whom happens to be a fighter pilot, whose MiG-21 crashes.

As far as the use of animals go, Aamir’s horse ride has been okayed. But the use of a festival of Sikh sect Nihangs in the background has been deleted. “This 20-second portion, which comes as part of a song picturisation, is all that has been edited out of the film,” producer Screwvala said.

Sources said Aamir is likely to cut the scene showing him riding the horse. The star, who will be in Calcutta on the day of the release for a last-minute promotion blitzkrieg, is not comfortable with keeping the shot after the animal controversy, they added.

“The simple fact is that neither the censor board nor the ministry of defence has requested any cuts in the movie. The animal welfare board has given a recommenda- tion that a shot involving a banned horse race be removed from the final version. The shot in question is not more than 20 seconds,” Screwvala said in Mumbai.

Director Mehra clarified neither he nor UTV had received any objection from the defence ministry.

“We were told by the censor board to refer the film to the ministry and the animal welfare board, which we have done. While the ministry passed it without any cuts, the board has recommended one cut. This is the normal procedure,” he added.

In Gandhinagar, air chief S.P. Tyagi said the air force has no role in censoring “certain parts of Rang De Basanti”. “It is not our job to censor any film,” Tyagi said. “We were taken to the screening and we just told them our opinion.”

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