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Da Vinci Code cleared for release in India minus cuts

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 18 (UNI) Religious thriller ' The Da Vinci Code', which has enraged Catholic groups the world over for its controversial references to the life of Jesus Christ, has been cleared for screening in India without any cuts but with an 'A' certificate and also a disclaimer.

The disclaimer would tell the audience that the film was based on a work of pure fiction. Views of representatives of the Catholic Church were taken into account before clearing release of the film.

The movie, a Ron Howard's adaptation of the Dan Brown bestseller, suggests that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and had a child by her, and that some sections within the Catholic Church resorted to murder to hide the fact.

The Tom Hank starrer is slated for global release tomorrow.

The decision to clear the film for release in the country was taken by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) today after taking into account the response of the representatives of the Catholic Church, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi announced here this evening.

''The film will be screened in its original form but there will be a short disclaimer that the storyline of the movie was based on complete fiction. Besides it has been given an 'A' Certificate,'' the Minister said.

Though the film could be screened from tomorrow, there might be a delay of one or two days as the producer, who is at present out of the country, will have to give his acceptance for the disclaimer and the 'A' certificate, which is generally not refused, Mr Dasmunsi said.

The Catholic Bishops, who watched the movie with the Information and Broadcasting Minister last night, held a meeting this morning following which they sent their response to the Minister in which they asked for only a disclaimer telling the audience that the film was a total work of fiction and that it should carry an 'A' certificate.

However, the Minister said the Censor Board had already decided about this even before receiving the bishops' views.

Asked for his personal view of the film, the Minister said ''as a work of fiction, the production was OK.'' He also justified his step in seeking the views of Catholic priests in the matter, saying there was nothing wrong in it.

When asked whether it would not create a precedence for involvement of religious leaders of other communities in such cases, the Minister said he would act accordingly if such a situation arose.

About 290 organisations, mostly representing Catholic church in the country, had approached the Minister urging him to first view the film himself and allow its release only after being satisfied.

''Since these organisations had sent a memo to the government, it was my duty to cross check the facts before allowing the screening,'' the minister said.

Meanwhile, reports from Mumbai said the Bombay High court today notices to CBFC chairperson Sharmila Tagore and Mr Uday Singh, Head of Sony Pictures, to file a reply by tomorrow in response to a petition filed against clearance of the film 'Da Vinci Code'.

Vacation Judge H G Rohee adjourned the hearing till tomorrow, hearing the petition of social activist Joseph Dias who sought a ban on the film on the grounds that it hurts the religious sentiments of over 25 millions Catholics across the world.

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