The Allahabad High Court has slammed the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for clearing the controversial film 'Adipurush' in view of its questionable dialogues and scenes out of Hindu epic 'Ramayana', by asking if this is the way to test the tolerance of the people.
A bench of Justices Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Shree Prakash Singh asked if the board understood its responsibilities.
The court was hearing two PILs, filed by social activists Kuldeep Tiwari and Bandana Kumar through advocates Ranjana Agnihotri and Sudha Sharma, contending that the film had portrayed religious characters like Lord Rama, Hanuman and others in an objectionable manner and had hurt the sentiments of the people who revered the ‘Ramayana’.
The pleas sought a direction to ban the movie.
The bench sought to know from the government counsel whether a particular religion, which was said to be tolerant, would be tested this way.
The court also slammed the CBFC, saying it seemed that the board was unable to understand its responsibilities.
“Cinema is the mirror of society... What do you (Board) want to teach the future generations,” the court asked the Board counsel.
On being told that certain ‘objectionable’ dialogues from the movie have been removed following strong protests, the bench sought to know as what was to be done with the scenes.
The court also allowed a plea to make the film’s co-writer Manoj Muntashir Shukla a party in the matter.
It issued a notice to him directing him to respond within a week.
The petitioners claimed that Shukla’s dialogues have portrayed the icons of the Hindu religion in a very objectionable manner and that he has sought to justify the same in the garb of creative freedom.
During the hearing, the bench said 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 bench said.
On being told that a disclaimer has been added in the move, the bench asked if the people who put the disclaimer consider the countrymen, and youth to be brainless.
"You show Lord Rama, Lord Laxman, Lord Hanuman, Ravana, Lanka and then say it is not Ramayana," the bench said.
"What will you do with the scenes? Seek instructions, then we will definitely do whatever we want to do...In case the exhibition of the movie is stopped, then the people whose feelings have been hurt, will get relief," the bench asked respondents counsel.
In her arguments on behalf of the petitioners, Agnihotri submitted that this was not the first time it has happened and that it had happened in movies such as PK, Mohalla Assi, Haider, etc.