Vin Diesel in xXx (2002)
Vin Diesel reprises his role as Xander CageSony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Indian film censorship board is embroiled in controversy after scenes featuring Vin Diesel drinking soda were inexplicably cut from the native release of his latest film xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.

A leaked certificate for the recent franchise reboot which stars Diesel, 49, alongside Bollywood crossover actress Deepika Padukone, 31, revealed the major cuts made to the film by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), known for its strict moral decency guidelines.

Under normal circumstances, only audience advisory notes for a final cut are released, with broader edit notes made available to audiences a year later. This limits the chance of protest or controversy around edits.

However, the leak showed that the film, although given a UA rating, akin to a British 12A certificate, had four recommended edits suggested by the CBFC.

These included routine anti-smoking measures, the deletion of dialogue featuring profanity (including "baller"), the removal of a suggestive bedroom scene, and, lastly, a ban on a shot featuring a girl pouring liquor.

On paper, these measures do seem out of place. But, as journalist Siddhant Adlakha points out in a heated interview with Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, the actress in the scene pours a soda with cranberry juice for Diesel, not liqueur.

When Adlakha points this out, Nihalani loses his temper and says "I have not seen the film, so I can't discuss it. When it has been cut, the producer has agreed. So he knows the thing, otherwise he would've gone [to appeal]."

No other further explanation is given, instead Nihilani suggests Adlakha should speak to the producer, despite the cuts being made by the board he himself chairs.

"And you are asking me the question? You should ask the producer! You ask them why it has been cut. Why have they agreed to this? If they have agreed, that means there was an objection, and they have agreed. Otherwise, it was open for them to go accept another certificate, or go to the revising committee."

And we think politicians in the UK never give a straight answer.