Jana wrote: “just saw Tunali’s rather exasperated comments about Bombay audiences…true they chatter through most of it, but do note how volubly they clap each time an orc’s body part is brutally slashed. And if they are losing interest in the dialogue, it might have a little something to do with the fact that a good 30 – 35 mins of the film has been edited over here… You must admit that doesn’t make it easy to figure out a story that is complex enough anyway; I was there providing a running commentary for my friends for the 2 hours 25 mins that we were in the auditorium, having memorised the ‘unedited version’ while in England.”

More details came in from Divya:

“I noticed the article of LoTR’s reception in Bombay, and must point out that the movie was edited down to two and a half hours for release in most Indian cities. A very misguided edit too, IMHO, as it sacrificed a lot of narrative and made the story very difficult to follow for Tolkien novices.

“As for not enough people reading LoTR, the trilogy has been on the fiction best-sellers list for the last three months in Delhi, Chennai, and Bangalore: at least there’s more interest in the books now. It is true that New Line really hasn’t done a good job of publicising and marketing the film. Shame, really.

“Here’s a quick look at portions I noticed had been chopped:

1. In Hobbiton: most of Frodo’s conversation with Gandalf; one moment Frodo is in the cart, next, Gandalf is pulling up alone outside Bag End. Long part of Bilbo’s discussion with Gandalf inside Bag End gone.
2. Scenes with Gandalf’s research into the history of the One Ring.
3. Bits from the journey to Rivendell, such as Aragorn refusing to let the Hobbits stop for a second breakfast.
4. At Rivendell: Frodo’s joyful reunion with Bilbo, Boromir discovering the shards of Narsil, his brief encounter with Aragorn, large part of Elrond’s discussion with Gandalf.
5. At Isengard: lots of bits chopped including Saruman’s conversation with Sauron about creating an army worthy of Mordor.
6. At Lothlorien: unforgivable chopping here: one moment Haldir tells the fellowship that Galadriel is waiting, the next, Frodo is staring into her mirror. They’ve cut the first meeting with Galadriel and Celeborn, the scene with the companions mourning Gandalf, Boromir telling Aragorn about his hopes that they will both get back in time to save Gondor and its people.
7. At Parth Galen: Brief conversation between Aragorn,Gimli and Legolas just before they notice Frodo and Boromir are missing.”

Well, yuk. This is a country absolutely steeped in a love of fantasy and tale-telling, and this is the version of LOTR they get?

Oh, and Tunali’s a girl, she wrote in to correct me on that. Fair enough. Happens to me all the time. She had this to add: “My last report was more of the failure of the movie in India. However an optimist as I am, I went to all the theatres showing the movies and I am extremely glad to inform you that the LoTR has been the highest grosser the whole month, defeating the oscars best movie award reciepent “A Beautiful Mind.”‚ A Beautiful Mind had been released after LoTR:FoTR and owing to poor public response, it was pushed into a matinee and late night show! On the other hand LoTR has really done well for a Hollywood movie. If you remember in my last letter I told you that the movie is coming to an end due to end of contract? Well, due to public demand it has come back in another theatre as a matinee show! Isn’t that just great? I think New Line Cinema should thank Bollywood as our home producers have failed to produce any interesting movie for two months in a row!”