India's film censor authorities have ordered that kissing scenes in the latest James Bond movie, "Spectre," be shortened before it is released in the country.
The Central Board of Film Certification has ordered that four scenes in the new James Bond film be trimmed, including at least two kisses between the lead actors, Daniel Craig and Monica Belluci.
The decision to reduce the length of the kissing scenes was trending on social media Thursday as Indians mocked the prudishness of film certification authorities.
Earlier this week the film certification board gave "Spectre" a U/A rating suggesting parental discretion for children under 12. The film will be released in theaters on Friday.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, scores of Indians used the satirical hashtag #SanskariJamesBond, or "traditional James Bond" to ridicule the cuts.
"James Bond's women must be feeling so safe now that our Censor Board is there to protect their honor from that creep," said Bollywood director and producer Shirish Kunder in a tweet.
Compared to Hollywood, movie norms in India are extremely strict. Censorship authorities often order filmmakers — both Indian and foreign— to chop scenes deemed offensive. Films with graphic content can be barred completely.
In years past, Indian filmmakers circumvented censors by showing two flowers bending and touching when they wanted to depict a kiss between the hero and heroine.
Public kissing is frowned upon in India's conservative society, and even a peck on the cheek can upset some people. An arrest warrant was briefly issued for Hollywood star Richard Gere in 2007 after he kissed the cheek of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness rally.
Indian movie directors and producers have grown fed up with what they see as curbs on their creativity. Many in India's vibrant movie industry see the censorship board as an outdated and bureaucratic irritation and regularly push for censors to allow more.
"It is quite ridiculous that in this day and age the censors should be cutting out or abbreviating something like a kissing scene from a film," The Times of India newspaper said Thursday in an editorial about the Bond film.
Cuts should be limited to scenes that might threaten public order "or where it transcends reasonable limits of vulgarity or violence," it said.