India's censors block Fifty Shades of Grey

MUMBAI (AFP) - India's censor board said Thursday it has blocked the release of "Fifty Shades of Grey" despite being shown a toned-down version of the erotic movie.

The chief executive of the powerful Central Board of Film Certification, said the US film had not received clearance but could try again.

"It did not pass, but it is not unusual as many mainstream films don't get clearance in the first step, people have the option to go for a revising committee's opinion," Shravan Kumar told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

"The theme of the movie is such that it could not be cleared in the first viewing. In the second step, a wider committee will review the film."

A source at Universal Pictures, the film's backers, told AFP that it had been refused certification in India with a 4-1 vote against.

He said the version shown to the committee had been toned down by the studio, with many of the expletives and several nude scenes edited out.

"Our next step would be to go to the revising committee. These delays simply eat into revenues and encourage piracy," said the source, declining to be named.

Despite mixed reviews, the erotic bondage tale of billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and his sadomasochistic relationship with college graduate Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) has been an international box office hit.

The film, based on the 2011 novel by British author E.L. James that has sold 100 million copies, saw a record February opening in North America but has been banned in some countries, including Malaysia.

India's film censors have a long history of barring movies and cutting scenes, including those that are deemed too racy or may cause religious offence.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.