QUIRKY WORLD ... ‘The Jungle Book’ has India’s censors spooked

INDIA: 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 theatres today. It is a computer-generated remake of the 1967 animated film that was based on Rudyard Kipling’s book.

Censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani 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,” said Mr Nihalani.

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 US with a PG rating, meaning parental guidance is suggested because of some scary scenes.

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 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.

Sign of guilt

USA: It took 30 years, but a guilty conscience led someone who stole a large metal sign in Florida to return it — along with a $50 money order — to the New Smyrna Beach Police Department.

A picture of the sign was posted on Wednesday on the police department’s Facebook page. It says: ‘New Smyrna Beach Says No to Drugs.’

Officials say the blue sign arrived in the mail with a note asking officials to use the money to reinstall the sign. The anonymous person asked for forgiveness, adding the sign was stolen in the late 1980s during “a fit of youthful exuberance”.

On Facebook, department officials said that the “act of contrition” gives hope that people can do the right thing, even if it takes 30 years.

Little monsters

USA: Lady Gaga’s childhood piano is going on the auction block in New York City next month where it could fetch as much as $200,000.

Julien’s Auctions is offering the piano in its ‘Music Icons’ memorabilia sale at the Hard Rock Cafe New York on May 21.

The upright piano was featured in a 2011-2012 ‘Women Who Rock’ exhibition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

It was bought by Gaga’s grandparents for $780 in 1966 and later given to her parents. She began taking piano lessons when she was 4, and wrote her first composition, ‘Dollar Bills,’ a year later.

No joke

USA: A Utah man facing criminal charges for posing as a federal agent to get into a $10,000-a-head VIP room at Comic Con in Salt Lake City has agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors.

Jonathon M Wall, 30, pleaded guilty to impersonating a federal officer at the September 2015 event . Prosecutors will drop a second charge of making a false statement in exchange for his plea.

Wall claimed he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and needed a pair of passes to a lounge room for famous guests to catch a fugitive. He showed staff a photo of a real wanted fugitive and said he was there with a 60-person crew, prosecutors said.

Wall acknowledged that he flashed the federal identification he uses for his job at Hill Air Force Base. He said he came up with the idea on the spot and did not think a Comic Con staffer he tried it on believed him.

Wall never made it to the VIP lounge, but a security guardgot suspicious and called the Air Force, which sent agents to question Wall and confirmed he didn’t work for the military branch, the charges said.

Wall faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing set for June 9.

Not wild about Turkeys

USA: A New Jersey town plans to acquire 20 air horns to help its residents deal with aggressive wild turkeys.

Animal Control Officer Vincent Ascolese said he will give the air horns to Teaneck officials to distribute to the public, The Record reported.

“We have to coexist as best as possible,” he said.

Amy Schweitzer, of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s fish and wildlife division, said she captured an aggressive male turkey, which she said will help ease the aggression of the wild birds.


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