Producer-director Sohan Roy on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Tamil Nadu government's ban on screening of his film Dam 999 in the State.
Mr. Roy, in his writ petition, questioned the subjective satisfaction of the Chief Minister (on whose directions the impugned November 24 order was passed), arrived on “narrow political objectives.” He said the order had no constitutional, much less legal, basis.
He said the State suspended the screening of the Hollywood movie without hearing him or affording him an opportunity for clarification. The “arbitrary, unilateral and unjustified act” violated his fundamental right to freedom guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a).
Nowhere did the film say it was about the Mullaperiyar dam. Even an indirect mention of a water-sharing contract between two neighbouring States was deleted as per the request of the censor board.
“The fundamental right to freedom can be reasonably restricted only for the purpose mentioned in Article 19(2). The restriction must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not the quicksand of convenience of political expediency.”
Explaining the contents of the film, he said it “spreads the message about the consequences of dam disasters around the world.”
Further, “navarasa or nine human emotions are shown by nine characters. Just as a dam holds water, the nine characters hold back their emotion, which eventually breaks out during a disaster drawing the audience to a gripping climax. In short, the movie revolves round a dam, the number 9, navarasas, Navagrahas, 9 characters with 9 assorted tunes, 9 forms of lost love and the cultural heritage of India. The number 9 has an important role in the movie and hence the name Dam 999.”
Assailing the Tamil Nadu government order, Mr. Roy said, “The authorities have not watched the movie or read the script before banning the same. The suspension of the exhibition of the movie amounts of pre-censorship and liable to be set aside.”