The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hilton too hot for television
- Adult certificate shuts video out of drawing rooms in India

Calcutta, Aug. 23: Paris Hilton, best known for the widely-circulated private sex video she shot with boyfriend Rick Soloman and her question “Who’s Tony Blair'”, has had her first music video Stars are blind banned on Indian television, thanks to an ‘A’ certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

It is one of the first international videos to be disallowed from being run on the national TV channels. “The official reason given to us was that the images had sexual connotations,” a spokesperson of EMI, which released the album worldwide yesterday, told The Telegraph.

“We had sent a second version, editing out the possible objectionable portions, but that too was given an ‘A’ certificate. With music channels now making it mandatory to get a ‘U’ certificate for broadcasting videos, Stars are blind will not be shown in India,” the spokesperson said.

In the video, much of which has been shot in black-and-white, Paris is seen seducing and teasing a male model on the beaches. She is seen cavorting on the white sands with her mauve swimsuit almost causing a wardrobe malfunction in one of the fast-cut shots.

“Some people will obviously be disappointed, but the laws are framed keeping the majority’s interest in mind and as responsible corporate citizens, we abide by the laid-down norms,” said Keertan Adyanthaya, vice-president and general manager of Vh1 India.

“The information and broadcasting ministry released a notification early this month that requires all songs — Indian or international — to be certified by the CBFC before they can be telecast on any channel on television.”

Till now, the music channels had their own teams that would vet the content. “We used to follow the guidelines set by STAR TV. So a video like Vengaboys’s Brazil, which went over the top, would never get airplay and only be played on radio and in the disco,” said Amar K. Deb, the chief of Channel V.

Paris too is headed for the radio waves. “We have to now promote the album on FM channels,” added the EMI spokesperson. “However, we are playing the Stars are blind video on our website because there is no such regulation on the Net yet.”

But will Indian videos — which have recently shown everything from G-strings (Kaanta laaga) to bodies only covered by flowers (Kaliyon ka chaman) — escape the scissors' “I would not like to take names but some of the recent remix videos have not been given ‘U’ certificates,” Channel V’s Deb said. “With this CBFC certification becoming a must, it’s going to be really difficult for these songs to make their way on to the small screen.”

So are the Rakhi Sawants and Mumait Khans finally history' “We are all running family channels and a policy like this will surely help clean out the trash,” Ashish Patil, vice-president and general manager, creative and content of MTV India, said.

“Not just the raunchy videos, if a film gets an ‘A’ certificate, we can’t run its songs on our channel. Take Omkara for example. The film got an ‘A’ billing and we could not play the Beedi song till it was specially cleaned for TV.”

Even the re-runs of all those raunchy videos that were made before the new policy are going to be under the scanner. “We have already initiated the process to get our (video) library certified by the CBFC,” Vh1 India’s Adyanthaya said.

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