British actress Florence Pugh’s nude scene in Christopher Nolan’s popular historical drama ‘Oppenheimer’ has been censored to ensure the film’s release in various countries around the world.
At a pivotal moment, the famous physicist behind the atomic bomb, portrayed by Cillian Murphy, J. Robert Oppenheimer had an intimate confrontation with Jean Tatlock, a member of the Communist Party, portrayed by Pugh.
While the uncensored version showed Pugh topless in a hotel room chair, viewers in the Middle East and India were shown her body covered up to the thighs in an ingeniously computer-generated black dress.
According to Newsweek, other moviegoers in Bangladesh and Indonesia also reported that the scene was altered.
The film contains several sex scenes involving Pugh and Murphy, and viewers in various countries took to social media to confirm that the scenes were heavily edited.
The uncensored version showed Pugh topless in a hotel room chair, but viewers in the Middle East and India were presented with a cleverly computer-generated black outfit.
Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, left, and Cillian Murphy as Jay Robert Oppenheimer in a scene from ‘Oppenheimer’ in this Universal Pictures-released photo.
Florence Pugh attends the UK premiere of ‘Oppenheimer’ at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on July 13, 2023 in London, England
Scenes featuring explicit content are regularly edited to ensure a smooth release in countries with strict censorship rules on nudity and adult themes.
For example, according to India’s Central Board of Film Certification, movies aiming for ‘U/A certification’ in India must adhere to certain standards, allowing moderately mature themes with parental guidance for children under 12.
But Pugh’s nudity wasn’t the only aspect raising eyebrows in India.
Oppenheimer also faced controversy for quoting lines from the Hindu scripture ‘Bhagavad Gita’ in one of the alleged sex scenes between Murphy and Pugh.
Oppenheimer took a keen interest in the teachings of Hinduism during his life and learned Sanskrit so that he could read the original Hindu texts.
Shortly after the detonation of the atomic bomb, he recalled in an interview that during the explosion he remembered a line from the Bhagavad Gita: ‘Now, I have become death, the destroyer of worlds.’
But in Nolan’s film, Murphy quotes the Bhagavad Gita while falling in love with Pugh.
India’s Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar said the scene was a “direct attack on the religious beliefs of one billion tolerant Hindus” in a cautionary statement released on Saturday.
But the film was still well received by Indian audiences, grossing over $3 million in its opening weekend there.
Elsewhere the critically acclaimed film proved a box office success, grossing an impressive $82.4 million in North America and a staggering $180 million in its opening weekend worldwide.
Oppenheimer’s global debut is the highest for any biopic, with Bohemian Rhapsody’s $124 million.
With a star-studded cast including Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, ‘Oppenheimer’ takes audiences on a captivating three-hour journey through history.
Cillian Murphy plays the title character – J. Robert Oppenheimer – Director of the Los Alamos Laboratory where he developed the first atomic bombs that were later dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, ending World War II.
However, the film – which charts the development and subsequent deployment of the first nuclear weapons – is a notable absence from Japanese cinema and has yet to be confirmed for release in the country due to its subject matter.
Pugh and Murphy appear as Tatlock and Oppenheimer
The film – which J. Follows Robert Oppenheimer’s development of the first nuclear weapon – a noticeable absence in Japanese cinema
Oppenheimer, starring Cillian Murphy, is yet to be confirmed for release in the country due to its subject matter
Although Japan has not publicly announced that it will ban screenings of Oppenheimer altogether, it has not yet shared a date when the film will be screened in cinemas across the country.
A Universal spokesperson said ‘plans have not been finalized in all markets’, according to Variety.
But audiences hoping to catch a blockbuster release in Japan will be able to see Oppenheimer later this year, as American films debut months after their release.
The film received a perfect five stars from Brian Viner of the Daily Mail, who wrote that Nolan “brilliantly” balances the thriller elements with “profound questions about the morality of atomic waste at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
Wiener writes: ‘Oppenheimer is a stunningly well-made film… Much of Oppenheimer unfolds like a thriller without raising deep questions about the morality of dumping Hiroshima and Nagasaki in nuclear waste.
‘I’m disappointed by the excessive length of many films these days, yet at three hours it never feels unreasonably long. There are so many horror stories to tell, and Nolan tells them beautifully.’
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