Tamil Nadu

Actor Suriya, Jai Bhim director Gnanavel move High Court to get FIR quashed


Suriya | Photo Credit: M. VEDHAN

Actor Suriya and Jai Bhim director T.J. Gnanavel have filed a joint petition before the Madras High Court to quash a First Information Report (FIR) registered against them at the Velachery police station in Chennai for having allegedly hurt the feelings of the Vanniyar community by portraying it in a bad light in the movie.

Their petition has been listed for admission before Justice N. Sathish Kumar on Monday when he would take a call on staying all further proceedings pursuant to the registration of the case as prayed for by the petitioners. The FIR was booked on May 17 at the instance of Chennai-based advocate K. Santhosh of Rudra Vanniyar Sena.

According to the petitioners, the movie was based upon a case which Justice K. Chandru, a retired judge of the High Court, had conducted while he was a lawyer. Except for his name and the name of former Inspector General of Police Perumalsamy, the names of all other characters were changed in the movie.

The filmmakers consciously did not want to use the real names of the characters since most of the accused had undergone their sentence in full and were still alive. Further, it was indicated in the beginning of the movie that it was inspired by real life events and was not an actual portrayal of them.

The movie was given a ‘A’ certificate by the Censor Board and was released only on an over the top (OTT) platform, thereby limiting the number of viewers who could watch it. Chief Minister M.K. Stalin watched a special screening of the film on November 1 and appreciated the message that it conveyed.

It was also well received by the audience the world over without any distinction based on caste, community or religion and ended up winning several national and international awards, including the Dadasaheb Phalke Film Festival Award, the JFW Award and the Boston International Film Festival Award.

The chairman of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry P.S. Amalraj too wrote a letter to the director appreciating the movie. Despite all this, the complainant had chosen to approach a Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Saidapet and obtained an order on May 6 to register the FIR against the filmmakers.

Contending that the Magistrate had issued the direction in a routine and mechanical manner without due application of mind, the petitioners said the complainant was aggrieved over the villain being named ‘Gurumurthy’ and having a daily calendar, belonging to the Vanniyar Sangam, hanging behind his seat in one of the scenes.

The petitioners pointed out that the calendar was changed by the filmmakers even before the complaint was lodged and that it would be farfetched for the complainant to argue that the villain had been named Gurumurthy only to sound similar with Gurunathan, the former leader of Vanniyar Sangam.

“The court below and the first respondent (inspector of police) failed to see that the name ‘Guru’ is a common one, and there is no iota of material available in the complaint that such a name was ascribed to the said character solely with a view to defame the name of one the leaders of the Vanniyar community, thereby tarnishing his image,” their petition read.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 2:47:11 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/actor-suriya-jai-bhim-director-gnanavel-move-high-court-to-get-fir-quashed/article65651521.ece