For a movie that has a beating heart ripped out onscreen, you wouldn’t think there was a lot of gory stuff left on the cutting-room floor. But apparently there was one Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom scene that was too much for the censors.
Yahoo! Movies did an interview with Indian actor Nizwar Karanj, who Temple of Doom fans might recognize as the Thuggee who has his heart ripped out by Mola Ram (Amrish Puri) before being lowered into a pit of boiling lava.
Apparently there was one more bit they didn’t get to use because it went too far. Along with ripping out his heart, director Steven Spielberg also wanted to show his face floating around in the lava. Apparently that’s where you draw the line.
Here’s an excerpt from Karanj’s interview where he explains the scene, after learning he’d have to get a full-body cast made a few weeks before filming:
I asked them specifically, “Why is this happening?” And they said, “Because there’s going to be a scene where your body goes into molten lava, and we’ll be using this cast.” Actually, they made a lifelike face of mine for the film, including glass eyes. That was because, once the cage was lowered into this pit of molten lava, my body would disintegrate and you would see my face floating. But that scene was too gory for the censors, so they cut that! [Laughs.] If you ever get a chance to see the uncensored version, that will be there …
No, I was never given a script. At all. The first day that I arrived on the set of Elstree, I was introduced to Steven and the rest of them, and they said, “Look, this is what it is: You’re a Thuggee and you’re going to be sacrificed, OK?” That set, with the Kali statue, was really incredible. And they said, “OK, you’re going to be in that cage. And they’re going to pull you towards it, and you’re going to die and you’re frightened. So: What would you say?” I said, “Well, I think I’d say ‘om namah shivaya.’ It’s a prayer type of thing that you say before you die; you pray to the god Shiva.” And then they checked that with Amrish Puri, and he said “Yeah, yeah, that’s right.”
Honestly, that sounds pretty awesome, and would’ve offered an extra dose of insanity to an already-insane scene. For a bit of nostalgia, check out the original cut below, minus the floating face.
(Via Yahoo! Movies)