Such is the importance of Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, the usually strict nudity censorships practices in India have lightened somewhat to allow the film to be shown unhindered, according to The Guardian.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel EjioforBenedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave

The Oscar-nominated has been hailed as a modern classic, and is the favorite to take home the prize of Best Picture. It has attained such a status in part due to its unerring approach to the atrocities of slavery.

"As a filmmaker, I needed to see the lashes on the back. I needed to see the pyschological effect afterward. If I hadn't done that, I would have done a disservice because that evidence had to be shown,” director McQueen explained.

“The lynching had to be depicted in the best possible manner because it happened to hundreds of thousands of people. As someone whose ancestors experienced it, I needed to do it the way I did it."

Individually, performances have been hailed. Chiwetel Ejiofor as the lead character Soloman Northrup is vying with Matthew McConaughey for the Best Actor nod, and Lupita Nyong’o’s turn as Patsy has been well received, partly due to relative inexperience – 12 Years was her first full-length feature film.

The censor board's spokesperson Anjum Rajabali told Indian publication DNA: "12 Years A Slave was given clearance based on merit after it was felt that the scenes were necessary and that cutting them would take away from the film itself. However, this does not mean a blanket approval for nudity in adult-only films."

The chair of the board, Leela Samson, said the preservation of the film was in keeping with a gradual change in Indian values. "This board has always interpreted certification guidelines in the most sensitive

Watch the trailer for 12 Years a Slave