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What’s the right length?: Shabana Azmi on Bond censorship

New Delhi: Veteran actress Shabana Azmi today said that the censor board’s decision to shorten the kissing scenes in James Bond movie “Spectre” was arbitrary.

“Spectre”, Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as James Bond, released in Indian theatres today but with certain cuts, which sparked sharp reactions on social media.

“Just two days ago, very honourable chief of the board of film certification has arbitrary… Without any consultation with the board members, has edited a kiss in James Bond film from its actual length to half a length,” Shabana said whe asked about the status of censorship in India at the “Women In The World” summit here.

“He thinks 50 seconds is enough to watch a kissing scene. I don’t understand? What is the right length?,” Shabana said amid laughter while addressing a session on her 1996 film “Fire”.

The National-award winning actress, however, praised the board when it passed “Fire”, a film which boldly chronicled the same sex relationship, without a single cut.

“What was absolutely stunning about the board of members of film certification of that time was it didn’t have a single cut… After that it was pulled out of the theatres and ministry re-referred the board and the commendable part was they re-released it without a single cut.”

“Fire” was an Indian-Canadian romantic drama film written and directed by Deepa Mehta and starred Azmi and Nandita Das.

It was the first installment of Mehta’s elements trilogy; it is succeeded by “Earth” (1998) and “Water” (2005).