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Holy BLEEP!! Store Bought and Rented DVDs Are Censored In India

It’s not exactly Ladies Night here in Bangalore for me.  But it is Friday night with me and my feline flatmates Jolie and Saffron.  And since the kitties were both operated on yesterday at the vet and are in need of lots of TLC, we are enjoying a quiet night in.  I stopped for a bottle of white wine and Lakshmi (our maid) had curry (chicken and gravy) with fresh bread (roti) waiting for me to heat up for dinner. Yum yum.

About a week ago I signed up for an online home-delivery DVD service called, which was recommended to me by my building manager.  It was simple to sign up for a great plan that allows me to rent one DVD per day if I wish for a cost of 299 Rupees per month (aprox. $6).  And since I did a little search for coupons for the service before I hit the BUY button, I also had a promotional code that gave me one month free.  So in the end I have 2 months for 299 Rupees (works out to $3 per month).  Pretty damn sweet deal if you ask me 🙂  And on top of that, it is really convenient.  The dispatchers drop off the DVD at the security gate of our building, and pick up the DVD from the night before if there was one.  Doesn’t get any simper than that 🙂

Sean Penn doesn’t seem quite so BAD when he is muted 🙂

I appear to be on a real 80s kick this week that started out with Gremlins and tonight the film du jour was Bad Boys from ’83 or ’84 staring Sean Penn as a….. yep, you guessed it …. bad boy!  So I snuggle up on the sofa, start digging into my delicious chicken curry — which, by the way, I can finally do by eating it and tearing the roti with only one hand.  Yep, no utensils.  The movie started and within 5 minutes I realized that my rental DVD was censored just like the edited for television movies.  How is that possible?  I didn’t notice it earlier in the week because Gremlins is a family film so it didn’t have any swear words.  But come on, seriously, a censored DVD?  haha  Noooooo!

I am still hoping that the disc was just damaged and the audio cut out because if not, this means that I will probably never want to rent a new film again on DVD since I am not sure what I was actually missing. I’m still not sure if the movie theaters censor films here as well, I forgot to ask my colleagues about that actually…hmmmm.  Would be such a pity to have to count on the Internet and movie downloads every time we want to watch something from now on.

So why does India censor their films?  I don’t personally know anyone in the industry but from what I have read I know that India is actually designated as a free country with respect to civil liberties and the decision to censor.  So in theory, censoring is a choice and not a mandate which is great.  But according to the Constitution of India, in a statement from the India Code retrieved 3-June-2006, censorship occurs “with a view toward maintaining communal and religious harmony, given the history of communal tension in the nation.”  And if I understand correctly, the decision to censor a film or even a book is done at the state level.  A good example of this is from 2006 when 7 of the states here in India banned The Da Vinci Code even though the country of India itself had approved it.  Pretty interesting I think.  I am happy to see that Karnataka, the state that Bangalore is in, was not one of the seven.

It’s now close to midnight and earlier I popped in one of the store bought DVDs I purchased this evening (yes, I do appear to be cocooning this weekend).  I found a great little shop that had tons of old Hollywood films as well as new Indian and Hollywood releases.  I picked up all Hollywood films save one, an Indian comedy called “3 Idiots” in Hindi with English subtitles that I look forward to watching tomorrow.  But OMG…I am sitting here in real shock.  My store bought film is censored too, hahaha.  Noooo!!!!  How is that possible?  I certainly understand and respect the right to censor a film for public audiences but is it really right to censor a DVD I bought to watch in the comfort of my own home?  Well, I think that ends my DVD shopping in India as quickly as it began.  Bummer.

Saturday I am headed to the Indian version of Super Pollo 🙂

So tomorrow I am headed out for a bit of sightseeing, maybe to visit another lovely park here in Bangalore.  And I am going to go shopping at one of the many shops that sell live chickens out of pure curiosity.  I have a sneaky suspicion that a “moments fresh” chicken must be the most tender and yummy chicken around and “when in Rome” one buys a fresh chicken 🙂

XOXO from Bangalore

© Angela Carson, Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011

Angela Carson

At 21 I left uni, jumped into my Jeep Wrangler, and drove from my native California to live an adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I've explored 37 countries on 4 continents, residing in 8 of them (currently Indonesia's Riau Islands is my home). I even have a private pilot's license and was shot at once by bandits!

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Arshad Shafeeq

    Its good reading your Blog, I have seen many foreigners visiting our country but did not understand what problems they face here in India, After reading your blog, i am really understanding the problems faced by you all. I would like to add, here in India porn movies are available and even a minor has access to it, but you cant get uncensored movies. If you want you movies not beeped out, you better download DVD rip from any torrent site.

  2. angela_carson

    Hi Arshad, yes this is a very strange topic indeed and a difficult one for me to understand fully. If I buy a film to watch at home, really who has the right to tell me I can’t watch the true theatrical version if I want? I am not happy that I will have to buy all my DVDs from another country or download them 🙁 — ang

  3. Christine

    I was actually Googling on this subject because I had bought the Sex and the City movie DVDs from here and WTF!!!! They’re censored!!!! What do they expect with a show like Sex and the City??! So I basically paid full price for half the contents?! C’mon!!! I was actually going to buy True Blood from flipkart and then I saw the distributor was India’s Reliance Home Video or whatever. Bloody annoying! Like this will really help in the fight towards piracy! Pfft! I’m going to download everything now!!!

    1. angela_carson

      Argh, I hear you! Listen to what an idiot I am … I ordered something like 20 DVDs online days before I was moving into my flat here in Bangalore because it will still be another 6 weeks or so before all of my things arrive from Barcelona. haha So I have saucy films with all the sex cut out, others with silence, haha CRAP! I really do understand censoring the theatrical version, but come on!! When you pay full price for Sex and the City you want to see Samantha get naughty! haha Have a great night 🙂

  4. Nisha

    It is real fun reading your blog! All the common place stuff (to me) is so strange to you! You might have figured it by now, but “dal” is a lentil soup kind of curry and not a bread.

    1. angela_carson

      Thanks so much! That is wonderfully kind of you to say 🙂

      1. manjeet singh

        indian bread is called roti or chappati 🙂 .. have a nice stay in Bangalore and if u get chance, come over to delhi ,punjab and himachal for a trip 🙂 .. it wil be a new experience

  5. Jason Tauro

    Such a shame, you can't enjoy movies to the fullest.. Did you find any alternative? And muted Sean 

    The pic of all the ingredients makes me so hungry.. damn.. I could cook some good chicken gravy with all

    1. AngelaCarson

      Super Bad was the worst haha  It is all swear words so imagine!  🙂 

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