Brett Lee's Bollywood debut runs into trouble with Censor Board
Australian speedster Brett Lee might have had a debut to remember against India on the field back in the summer of 1999-2000, picking up 13 wickets in Two Tests against the Men in Blue, but the 39-year-old’s dream of making a similar impact with his Bollywood-themed debut has run into some trouble with the Censor Board of India raising a few objections.
Lee, one of the fastest ever bowlers to have played the game, has always maintained a strong connection with India, being a frequent visitor to the country even during his busy playing days. His involvement with a number of charity organisations in the country and being never shy to express his love for the country has made the Indian public love back the ever-smiling cricketer in equal measure.
Indian movie directors have been pursuing Lee for some time now and much to the Bollywood fans’ delight, he accepted an offer from Anupam Sharma to mark his debut on the big screen with the movie titled ‘UNindian’. Though technically an Australian movie, the cast and crew of the movie are largely Indian and with the movie slated for release on August 19, the Pahlaj Nihalani-led Censor Board has asked the makers of the movie to trim down a love making scene in the movie which last originally for over a minute to barely 20 seconds.
"Remove the sideways visual and end climatic shot. The s** scene not to be synchronized with the mantra chanting," Times of India reported quoting a committee suggestion to the film's director Anupam Sharma, who later expressed his disappointment at what he perceived was double standards being adopted for different movies.
"The love scene runs simultaneously with a sermon scene where followers chant 'Om Shreem Hreem' which are spiritual chants and not religious. I'm a practicing Hindu myself so there is no way I would offend anyone's sentiments," Sharma reacted.
"Speaking of the side profile, the actors are bareback in the scene. It's been shot aesthetically. Much more is shown on Indian television and item songs," he added, defending the scene in UNindian.
Brett Lee also reacted on the matter defending the scene as not being vulgar by any stretch of the imagination but added that he was not going to enter into a long debate over the matter and was leaving the decision in the hands of the movie’s director.
“It’s been very tastefully done. It’s about two human beings becoming one which happens in everyday life and which happens in this film,” Brett told Indian Express.com in an exclusive conversation.
“It’s an Australian film first of all. It’s produced and directed by an Indian and obviously, Anupam (director) is an Indian and he knows Indian culture. I was born in Australia. The actress(Tannishtha) is Indian. So it’s pretty much been made by Indian people. I am not the one to judge and certainly won’t be going down that road which is right or wrong. I am stepping aside and leaving it them to find out what is wrong and if it is tasteful. If it doesn’t work and it’s not right then it is up to them to make that call,” he added.