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Rocketman got A certificate from CBFC with no cuts, here are the three changes that were made

Of the three suggestions made by the CBFC for Rocketman, two are pertaining to rules followed in Indian cinema - anti-smoking ads and static warning messages for scenes that show drug abuse, alcohol or cigarette use.

hollywood Updated: Jun 06, 2019 16:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rocketman,Elton John,Rocketman CBFC
Taron Egerton gave a career-defining performance as Elton John.

Hollywood filmmaker Dexter Fletcher received an A certificate for his latest film, Rocketman, after the Indian Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) reviewed it for screening in the country and suggested three changes to be made in the film. Based on the life of Elton John, the film traces how a shy piano prodigy named Reginald Dwight became the flamboyant showman, rock star and gay icon. The film hit Indian theatres last week on May 31.

Of the three suggestions made by the CBFC, two are pertaining to rules followed in Indian cinema - introducing anti-smoking ads in the beginning and during interval and static warning messages for scenes that show drug abuse, alcohol or cigarette use. The third change is a mere blurring of the brand name of an alcohol company.

Pointing out that it is rare for the CBFC to not chop off scenes showing alternate sexuality, a BollywoodHungama report quoted a source as saying, “We are most certainly not looking at obliterating such content. Some very fine films on alternative sexuality are being made in West. We will be viewing and re-viewing such films to ascertain how much of the content is relevant and topical. And we at the CBFC are not shy of dealing maturely with homosexual content.”

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Last week, Russian gay rights activists and cultural figures criticised the local distributor of the movie for cutting scenes depicting homosexual activity and drug use. The deletions came to light last week after the screening of the film Rocketman in Moscow .

The Moscow movie theatre Pioner, noted for its adventurous programming, said it would ask for an original cut of the movie with Russian subtitles. But the theatre said Sunday it had not received a response from the distributor.

Russian news agencies reported that the distribution company said the scenes were cut to conform with Russian law but that the Ministry of Culture said it was not involved in the decision. “In this way, the Russian distributor indirectly supports homophobia,” the Russian LGBT Network said in a Facebook statement. “We urge people not to support such a policy and not to go see the Russian version of the film.”

Homosexuality is not criminalized in Russia, animosity toward gays remains strong. In 2013, but the country passed a law banning so-called propaganda supporting non-traditional sexuality from being made available to minors.

Trailers for the Russian version of Rocketman showed it carrying a rating restricting it to viewers 18 years or older. “So, one day we woke up in Saudi Arabia,” film critic Anton Dolin said on Facebook, criticizing the cuts. He said the “most repellent” aspect of the cuts was the removal of the statement at the end of the movie that John eventually found “the love of his life” and has raised children with the man he married in 2014.

A joint statement from John and the filmmakers said “that the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended, is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.”

John has previously criticized Russia’s law on gay “propaganda” and comments by President Vladimir Putin that suggested gay people prey on children.

(With AP inputs)

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First Published: Jun 06, 2019 16:02 IST