The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Da Vinci stuck in India code

May 19: Thanks to Priya Ranjan Das Munshi trying to play God, the threat has arisen that Indians might not be able to see The Da Vinci Code.

At the instigation of the information and broadcasting minister, who took it upon himself to decide if Indians should watch the Code, the censors have told the distributor, Sony Pictures, that it has to change the disclaimer in the movie.

Catholic leaders, who watched the movie with the minister, said the disclaimer in the beginning and at the end of the movie has to say: “The film is a work of pure fiction and has no correspondence to historical facts of the Christian religion.”

In the rest of the world, where the Ron Howard film released today, the disclaimer comes at the end. It says: “The characters and incidents portrayed and the names herein are fictitious and any similarities with anybody or to the history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.”

Officials of Sony Pictures Releasing India spent Friday trying to convince the censor board to allow the standard disclaimer. “There is no problem about the disclaimer being put at the beginning and end of the film, but changing the disclaimer on the grounds of religion only in India is not acceptable,” said a source.

Howard has refused to change it because India is too small a market.

After yesterday’ special screening, the Catholic leaders insisted on an “A” certificate and a 15-second disclaimer on either side of the film. It wasn’t made public that they also wanted the disclaimer to change.

The Code can now be released in India only if the censors agree to let it run without adding those words.

The distributor is pointing out how the movie was shot largely on original location with the sanction of the Papacy. “When the Vatican did not have a problem with the film’s shooting and the entire world is viewing it with the normal disclaimer of it being a work of fiction, how can an exception be made for only one country'”

Pope Priya should answer that question.

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