June 28, 2023, In a recent hearing at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, the makers of the movie ‘Adipurush’ faced severe criticism for their portrayal of Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman in a manner deemed objectionable. The court questioned the reasoning behind testing the tolerance level of a particular religion and emphasized that tolerance should not be subjected to such tests.
During an open court session, a division bench comprising Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Justice Shree Prakash Singh expressed their concerns. They questioned whether the gentle should be suppressed and expressed gratitude that the believers of the religion depicted in the movie did not create any public disorder.
Justice Chauhan further remarked that even a short documentary on the Quran depicting wrong things would have caused a massive stir. The court said that something or the other is being done continuously to disturb social harmony. It further said that the producer of Adipurush will have to appear in court since this is not a joke.
The court also emphasized that tolerance should not be taken for granted and criticized the Central Board of Film Certification for not addressing the issue when granting the movie a certificate.
The court took note of the movie’s disclaimer, which stated that it was not based on the Ramayana. However, the petitioner’s lawyer, Ranjana Agnihotri, pointed out that the characters in the movie, such as Lord Ram, Goddess Sita, Lord Laxman, Lord Hanuman, and Ravana, were clearly based on the epic.
The court questioned the intentions behind such disclaimers, implying that they considered the citizens and youth to be gullible. They stated, “You show Lord Ram, Lord Hanuman and then say it is not Ramayana.”
The court further stressed that religious scriptures, which hold great sensitivity for people, should not be tampered with. In response, the deputy solicitor general of India sought time to gather instructions from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Central Board of Film Certification.
The court granted the deputy solicitor general 24 hours to seek instructions from the government and file a reply. The hearing took place in the context of two public interest litigation petitions against the movie ‘Adipurush.’ The court clarified that these petitions were not propaganda tools but legitimate concerns regarding the movie’s content.
During the proceedings, Manoj Muntashir, the movie’s dialogue writer, was also made a party to the case following an impleadment application. The court allowed this application, expanding the scope of the litigation.
The case originated from a PIL filed by Kuldeep Tewari, which raised objections to the content of the movie ‘Adipurush.’ Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Brij Raj Singh had previously issued a notice to the Censor Board on January 10, 2023.
Despite the fixed hearing date of February 21, the Censor Board did not file its reply and released the movie. The petition included the Centre, the state government, the Censor Board, the movie’s director Om Raut, and actors Prabhas, Saif Ali Khan, and Kriti Sanon as respondents.
The court will continue hearing the case on Wednesday as the proceedings unfold.