SC quashes FIR against actor Priya Varrier, director and producer of ‘wink video’ movie

Priya Prakash Varrier's celluloid wink catapulted her to fame.

Priya Prakash Varrier's celluloid wink catapulted her to fame.  


The Malayalam folk song, on which song had been picturised with Ms. Varrier, was in public domain since 1978 and the video cannot be termed blasphemous, says Bench.

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the celluloid wink of 18-year-old actor Priya Prakash Varrier in a Malayalam movie song as an expression of her right to creative freedom and quashed FIRs accusing her of committing a "blasphemous act".


A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said the wink does not express any calculated tendency to insult or upset morality or public order. The court barred police across the country to register FIRs on the basis of complaints made about the wink.


Chief Justice Misra observed that audiences should learn to watch movies with a sense of maturity, honesty and intellectual tolerance.

"It is should not be like you watch a movie and then come out and file a complaint about it just to gain some mileage," Chief Justice Misra orally observed.


Ms. Varrier, represented by advocate Haris Beeran, had moved the Supreme Court against threats to her life and that of her family from “fringe groups” who believe she insulted Islam.


Ms. Varrier's wink in a promotional song for the film Oru Aadar Love catapulted her to fame but also spelt trouble for her and the film's director, who is a joint petitioner in the apex court, when the Telangana and Maharashtra police registered FIRs under Section 295A  (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage reli­gious feelings) on the behest of certain groups.


The court concluded that the wink did not amount to a "malicious" act or an "aggravated insult" intended to hurt religious feelings.


Ms. Varrier, a graduate student from Thrissur district in Kerala, had said that fatwas were issued against her.


She drew the court's attention to its previous orders favouring the release of the Bollywood film Padmaavat and pressed her case for creative freedom. “When creativity dies, values of civilisation corrode,” Chief Justice Misra had written in the Padmaavat order.


Ms. Varrier explained that the criminal proceedings were the result of a misunderstanding. She said the translations of the Malayalam song, which went viral online, have distorted the meaning of the song's lyrics. The lyrics were first written in 1978 and is cherished by the Muslim community in Kerala. The film had only used the same lyrics.


“The song 'Manikya Malaraya Poovi' is a Mappila Song, or a traditional Muslim song from the Malabar region of Kerala, which praises the love between the Prophet Mohamed and his first wife Khadeeja. It is a part of the Muslim tradition in Kerala and does not offend any religious sentiment of any community or person,” the actor explained in her petition.


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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 6:18:15 PM |

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