India Censor Board Deems The Jungle Book Movie ‘Too Scary’

(Photo: Disney UK)

(Photo: Disney UK)

Despite the popularity of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book in various formats, including book, television, and movie, with children around the world, the most recent version of the film was referred to as “scary” by Pahlaj Nihalani, India’s Censor Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) chief.

The Disney film was given a rating of U/A by the CBFC, meaning that children will only be allowed to watch if they are supervised by an adult.  The movie received that rating because Nihalani felt the 3D effects were too realistic, causing the animals to appear to jump right off the screen at the audience, writes Shahana Yasmin for ScoopWhoop.

“Please don’t go by the reputation of the book. See the film and then decide on the suitability of the content for kids,” he told DNA in an interview.  “It’s not just the story that determines certification. It’s the overall presentation, the packaging and most important of all, the visual effects used to tell the story. In Jungle Book the jungle animals jumping at the audience in 3D is startling,” Nihalani said.

Nihalani said parents should decide for themselves if the effects are suitable for their children, writes Adrija Bose for The Huffington Post.

The rules from the CBFC state that if content is considered to be unsuitable for children age 12 or below, cuts to the film will be suggested.  Depending on these suggestions, the movie will receive a certification of either U or U/A.  Movies with a theme that is clearly only for adults will be given an A certificate.

However, few are pleased with the decision.  Bollywood producer Mukesh Bhatt said that if the movie received a U rating it would be a shame on the country.  Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana also referred to the rating as “unbelievable.”

Vishal Bhardwaj, the composer for the film, said he was unhappy with the news.

“I have seen the film. There is nothing in the film, which asks for ‘U/A’ certificate. It is such a beautiful film. There is nothing in film, which will scare the kids, but let’s just accept the fact these are the times when The Jungle Book is given UA Certificate,” he said.

The film was released in the United States with a rating of PG, meaning parental guidance is suggested due to some scary scenes.  However, movies must follow stricter norms to be released in India.  Last year, the James Bond Spectre film was required to shorten kissing scenes before it could be released in India.

Last year, Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo received the U certificate.  The movie, starring Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor, centers on the themes of vengeance, brothers trying to kill each other, and being hidden away in secret chambers for multiple days. Bajirao Mastani also received a U certificate last year due to fighting, murder plots, and graphic deaths.

The new version of The Jungle Book opened in theaters in India on Friday.  The movie is a computer-generated remake of the 1967 animated film based on the book of the same name written by Rudyard Kipling in 1894.