The information and broadcasting ministry has found the Vidya Balan starrer, The Dirty Picture, too dirty for prime-time television viewing.
The film, reportedly based on the story of late Tamil actor Silk Smitha, fetched Balan her first national award and was to be shown at noon and 8pm on Sunday on Sony TV.
But the ministry stalled the telecast and directed Sony to screen it in the late-night slot -after 11pm - "when most guardians/parents are available to suitably guide their children/wards". The original A-rated (Adults Only) film had undergone 59 cuts for a U/A certificate (Parental Guidance) to make it suitable for TV.
But according to the Central Board of Film Certification, a U/A-certified film can be shown only after 11pm.
Sony later ran a ticker on its channel, apologising to its viewers for the inconvenience. The ministry said the film's telecast would also violate a sub-rule of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, which says: "Programmes unsuitable for children must not be carried in the cable service at times when the largest numbers of children are viewing".
Bollywood, however, is not very happy with the directive.
"I am shocked and disappointed that this decision was taken at the last moment," said director Milan Luthria.
"A national award-winning film cannot have a national telecast??? This is… simple hypocrisy," director Karan Johar said on Twitter.