The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the makers of the film Adipurushand said that the tolerance of a particular community was being put to the test by them.
Slamming the makers for portraying the characters of Lord Rama, Hanuman and Sita in a “vulgar” and “objectionable” manner, the court orally observed that “religious scriptures, which are associated with public sentiment, should not be touched or encroached upon”.
While hearing a couple of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions filed against the film, the Bench of Justices Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Shree Prakash Singh remarked that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) should have considered the “religious importance” of the film before granting the certification.
The pleas, one of which was filed by social activists Kuldeep Tiwari and Bandana Kumar in December 2022, pleaded that the film cast aspersions on the characters of religious importance to Hindus, and tarnishes the image of the cultural heritage of Ayodhya and the Hindu religion in general.
Advocate Ranjana Agnihotri, counsel for one of the petitioners, told The Hindu that the court had allowed the application seeking to implead Manoj Muntashir Shukla, the dialogue writer of the film, as party respondent and it had directed the issuance of notice to him.
“Earlier, only the makers were party to it. Now the court has also asked the dialogue writer to be made party,” Ms. Agnihotri said.
The advocate had requested the judges to immediately ban the movie as it was affecting adversely the sentiments of those who worshipped Lord Rama, Devi Sita and Hanuman.
She said the film could create disharmony is society. She said she failed to failed to understand from where the content of the film had been borrowed as nothing in that manner had been narrated in Valmiki’s Ramayana or Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas.
Responding to the advocate, the Bench orally observed that the one who is gentle is suppressed. “It is good that it is about a religion, the believers of which did not create any public order problem. We should be thankful. We saw in the news that some people had gone to cinema halls and they only forced them to close the hall, they could have done something else as well,” the court observed. The Bench added that it was a relief that no law and order situation was reported after the movie was released.
S.B. Pandey, Deputy Solicitor General of India, said he would verify from the competent authority if scenes and dialogue mentioned in the petitions are in the film.
Mr. Pandey also referred to Section 6 of the Cinematograph Act 1952, which provides that in such circumstances, the revisionary power vests with the Central Government. He stated that the CBFC may not revisit the certificate already issued to the film.
The Deputy Solicitor General submitted that he had been told that before the starting of the film, a disclaimer had been shown to the effect that the film is not the Ramayana. Mr. Pandey was asked how the disclaimer would convince people that the story is not from the Ramayana.
“You think people of this country are brainless,” the court observed.
Mr. Pandey further informed the Bench that certain objectionable lines from the film had been changed but the court said that would not suffice.
“What will you do with the scenes? Seek instructions, then we will definitely do whatever we want to do,” the court observed.