After 'Chandni Chowk', Nepal enacts tougher film laws

chandnichowktochina.jpg

Kathmandu, Feb 7 (IANS) Nepal, a major market for Hindi films, has now come up with tougher regulations for foreign films, close on the heels of banning Bollywood comedy "Chandni Chowk to China" for wrongly saying India was the birthplace of the Buddha.

"We had been proposing in the past that foreign films that are shown in Nepal undergo the same international criteria elsewhere in the world," said K.P. Pathak, Nepali film director and member of the state-run Nepal Film Development Board (NFDB).

"We were influenced to take it up strongly after the 'Chandni Chowk to China' incident."

Following the recommendations of the NFDB, the government passed a gazette notification four days ago. Now a foreign film has to get the green signal not only from the Censor Board but the NFDB as well.

"How can the NFDB work to develop Nepali cinema if it has no data about the number and nature of foreign films being shown in Nepal?" Pathak told IANS. "We are not even informed how many foreign films have been censored."

As per the new regulations, now Bollywood and Hollywood film companies will also have to submit the text on which the film is based, the screenplay as well as details about the makers, cast and technicians.

The text and screenplay, if they are not in English, will have to be translated either into English or Nepali.

Along with the script, posters and show cards of the film, meant to be displayed in cinemas, will also have to be submitted for approval.

The NFDB is also proposing that multiplexes should not show both Nepali and foreign films on the same day.

It has given the thumbs-down to efforts to air foreign films from abroad via satellite.

Once the chaotic system in Nepal's theatres is brought under control, Pathak said, the NFDB will move to regulate television channels as well.

"In the past, we had been saying that foreign companies that show advertisements made abroad should modify them in Nepal," Pathak said. "They just dub the dialogues in Nepali. But we have also been asking for the models to be replaced by local ones."

Multinationals like Dabur and Coca-Cola use worldwide renowned figures like Bollywood stars, cricketers and footballers in their ad campaigns to promote their products.

Last month, "Chandni Chowk to China" was banned here after public protests by students as the Buddha was born in a place that now lies in Nepal and not in India as the film claims.

In the past, the censor board had ordered cuts in Bollywood director Ram Gopal Varma's remake of the Bollywood classic "Sholay". Though Nepal censors asked some of the song and dance sequences in "Aag" to be axed on the ground of vulgarity, there were allegations that the distributors had screened the film without the cuts.

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