Indian documentary film-maker Anand Patwardhan is appealing to the country's Appellate Tribunal in a bid to overturn a decision by Indian censors that is insisting over 20 cuts be made to his anti-war film War and Peace before it can be shown in Indian cinemas.

Despite triumphing at the Bombay International Film festival in February, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) demanded Patwardhan make cuts to the film which details the consequences of India's successful nuclear tests in 1998 and the rise of Hindu fundamentalism.

Included in the cuts are all scenes involving Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and India's then chief missile scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who was appointed Indian president in July.

The CBFC also demanded that footage of Mahatma Gandhi, taken minutes before his 1948 assassination by Hindu nationalist Nathuram, also be removed from the film.

Patwardhan said the cuts would ruin the three-hour anti-nuclear film. "The cuts that they asked for are so ridiculous that they won't hold up in court," Patwardhan said in an interview with Associated Press. "But if these cuts do make it, it will be the end of freedom of expression in the Indian media. There will be no accountability because people will be able to make any rabid speech and get away with it."

The documentary-maker said he expected Delhi's Appellate Tribunal would back his appeal as it had done on several occasions before after the CBFC challenged some of his previous films.