Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Delhi High Court dismisses petition against 'Shanghai'

The High Court in New Delhi has dismissed a petition by the Hindu nationalist Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena (Bhagat Singh Revolutionary Army) seeking to prevent the release of Dibakar Bannerjee's new political thriller 'Shanghai'.

BSKS President Tejinder Pal Singh Bagga filed a 'public interest litigation' objecting to the lyrics of one of the film's songs, 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', stating the song's writer had presented India in the most "humiliating, outrageous and insulting manner".

Judges however ruled that there was "nothing insulting in the song and it merely depicted the existing state of affairs in India".

Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Vipin Sanghi said in their ruling: "We do not find anything objectionable in the said song.  In a democracy, every person has a right to voice his views and opinions... the same right to speech and expression cannot be curtailed except under some circumstances."

"The author of the song has merely sought to portray the existing state of affairs in India, once considered a golden bird... is now infested with diseases like dengue and malaria", the judges added.

The film stars Emraan Hashmi, Abhay Deol and Kalki Koechlin and has created considerable buzz ahead of its release this weekend with multiple storylines casting an inhibiting eye on the murky underbelly of Indian politics.  

Bagga contended that the song showed that its writer had no respect for India, depicting India as the land of the homeless, full of misery and despair.

Justice Shakdher however, disagreed: "Similar kind of accusations were being made against great film maker Satyajit Ray that he used to sell the darker side of India abroad," adding that "you cannot restrict artistic freedom".

'Shanghai' is released June 08.
- Poonam Joshi

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