Deepak Nayar'sKintop Pictures has scheduled the Indian release of Mel Gibson's The PassionOf The Christ for May 15and has already begun a publicity blitz over the Easter weekend with brochuresdistributed in churches across the sub-continent and special screenings heldfor church groups.

"We will release50 prints of The Passion Of The Christ in its English language sub-titled version and the film maybe sub-titled in Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam later," explained SuriGopalan, vice president of Kintop, who also said that that the film will have awide release in Kerala and Goa, which is where the greater part of India'sChristian population of 2.5m is based.

The company hasalso secured rights for Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. The film isto be released in Sri Lanka in June followed by Pakistan. Gopalan added,"We have already heard of pirated video CDs being available in the Indianmarket and piracy is a real threat to the box office potential of thefilm".

The film has yetto receive its rating from the Indian censorship board, but Gopalan was confidentthat it will be passed without any cuts, as was Steven Spielberg's Schindler'sList at the request ofthe film-maker.

Nayar is basedin Los Angeles and has produced movies including Gurinder Chadha's Bend ItLike Beckham and BrideAnd Prejudice.