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‘The Jungle Book’ too scary for kids to see without parents, India censors say

"The Jungle Book," a new, live-action version of the animated Disney classic, opens in U.S. theaters Friday, April 15, 2016. Here, newcomer Neel Sethi, left, stars as Mowgli with Bagheera, voiced by Ben Kingsley. Photo Credit: Disney Enterprises, Inc. / Disney

NEW DELHI — India’s censor board is requiring parents to accompany children under 12 at screenings of Disney’s “The Jungle Book” because the special effects made its animals too scary.

The movie opens in Indian theaters on Friday. It’s a computer-generated remake of the 1967 animated film that was based on Rudyard Kipling’s book.

Censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalini justified the restriction by saying the 3D effects were scary as the animals seem to jump right at the audience.

“It’s up to parents to decide how much of these effects are suited for their children,” Nihalani told reporters late Wednesday.

The decision hasn’t gone well with many. Bollywood producer Mukesh Bhatt said it was a shame on the country if a film like “The Jungle Book” was given the “U/A” certificate.

The film will be released in the United States with a PG rating, meaning parental guidance is suggested because of some scary scenes.

On Thursday, Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana also found the movie’s certification “unbelievable” and challenged the criteria behind it.

“Maybe it is because of the 3D images of Bhageera and Sherkhan bouncing off the screen. These days kids are used to reading story books and watching Captain America, and after all these are animated films,” the Press Trust of India quoted him as saying.

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.

Last year, India’s film censor authorities ordered that kissing scenes in the James Bond movie, “Spectre,” be shortened before it was released in the country.

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