“Darjeeling Limited gets a snake bite from the Censor Board” (Mumbai News)

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Seems like our Censor Board has certainly gone green, if its latest action is anything to go by.  The release of critically acclaimed Hollywood flick The Darjeeling Limited has been prohibited by the Indian Censor Board, which claims that the filmmakers failed to get adequate clearance before shooting Indian flora and fauna.

“A stay has been put on the film’s release until the filmmakers get a clearance from the Animal Welfare Board. It is something that they still haven’t produced before us,” said a Censor Board member who did not wish to be named.

The film has some wildlife scenery, shot in Rajasthan. While this footage was okay with the Censor Board (animals in the wild), what was not okay with them was a snake in a cage. So they demanded that the producers present a clearance certificate from the Animal Welfare Board. And a venomous request it turned out to be, for the producers drew a blank. “It turns out that free wildlife is not offensive if shot on camera.

However, for something like snakes or other animals in cages, clearance from the Animal Welfare Board is crucial, since we need to know that no wildlife was harmed during the process of filming a product. We are awaiting what the Animal Welfare Board has to say on the footage of the same. Until then, the release of the film is stalled,” said the source.

The film was to release today in theatres across India. The Darjeeling Limited, produced by Fox Searchlight, is a comedy that traces the journey of three estranged brothers in India, after their father’s death. The journey proves to be therapeutic as they resolve the fault lines in their relationships. Starring Hollywood heavyweights Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody, the film also features Irrfan Khan and Jason Schwartzman.

What is going to truly bite the producers here is that the snake in the cage scene is a rather crucial one to the plot, from what viewers at preview screenings have noticed. A bad snakes-and-ladder move for studio execs; they just didn’t anticipate such a bad slide.

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