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Censored: Buddha Film's Kamasutra Scene

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pan Nalin came into limelight with his debut feature film Samsara - a commercial and critical success, which won him over thirty international awards.

Samsara is the story of the formative years of sixth century Indian monk Bodhidharma, who migrated to China, giving birth to Zen Buddhism and martial arts.

Sony Pictures is releasing Samsara in India and the censor board has chopped some portions from a major lovemaking scene - a Kamasutra sequence, with a saree and hanging from a wooden beam.

The beam has now become so famous that even tourists visiting monasteries in Ladakh ask about it, says Nalin...

What is Samsara about?
Samsara is a love story, an adventure and a spiritual quest. It is the modern interpretation of Buddha's life and teachings. It was filmed in Ladakh, at an altitude of 13,000 to 15,000 feet, with a cast and crew made up of 14 nationalities. The timing is perfect as it's the Buddha's 2,550th birth anniversary on May 13 (Buddha Poornima.)

Where do you think the film's appeal lies?
People highly appreciate the love story in Samsara. People love the spiritual message that is transmitted subtly. People admire less dialogues and more feast for eyes. And above all, they love the locations and Buddhist theme of the film. They also admire a poetic, yet realistic approach to filmmaking.

Did the censors remove the Kamasutra sequence with the saree and wooden beam?
No, the saree and wooden beam love scene from Samsara has not been removed. We were only asked to delete some shots and not scenes of frontal nudity from that scene. Thus the purpose of the scene within the film and its story is intact.

Basically Tashi is married, but betrayed his wife by making love to Sujata. They respected and appreciated the film and its creativity and originality. It's not sleazy at all. I didn't want it to be overtly sexual.

Now there are Samsara tours to Ladakh being organised for tourists in Switzerland...
After the film's success, not only Switzerland, but also countries like Italy, Austria, Denmark and Australia have started organising Samsara tours to Ladakh. The tour covers monasteries, hermitages and villages - all the locations where the film was shot.

Samsara is the first film to be filmed entirely on location. As per the Ladakh tourist authority, in last two years, Samsara has contributed to a massive tourism boom in the region.

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