The Bombay High Court Thursday refused to grant a stay on the release of the movie Ya Rab by Mahesh Bhatt’s Vishesh Films on February 7.
Taking objection to the alleged portrayal of “madrassas” as breeding grounds for terrorism in the film, a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra had sought a stay on its release.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel A V Bukhari argued before a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha that the film had scenes that depicted the community in a “bad light” and urged that an expert committee be appointed to review the film. “The aalims (teachers) in ‘madrassas’ have been shown brainwashing Muslim youths. This will send wrong signals to other communities,” said Bhukhari.
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Additional Solicitor General Kevic Setalvad informed the court that some of the objectionable scenes had been deleted. “Cuts have been made. The entire process required in law has been complied with. The petitioner appears to have proceeded on the basis that there was a private screening and on the basis of newspaper reports. It is a matter of perception,” said the ASG. “The law is that you see the film in entirety,” Setalvad said.
Arguing for the filmmakers, senior counsel Virendra Tulzapulkar said, “The review committee suggested nine cuts. We preferred an appeal before the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal, which retained certain scenes and asked us to remove four scenes.”
Chief Justice Shah asked the petitioner if they had watched the film Shahid. “In the first part, there are scenes that may be offensive, but when you see the second part, you realise why those scenes were there,” said Justice Shah.
Tulzapurkar further said the petitioner’s argument was only on the basis of sentiments. “Cinema halls have been booked, tickets have been sold in advance. How can court help a person who comes without material?” he asked.
Declining to grant interim relief to the petitioner with a stay on Ya Rab, the court asked the petitioner to amend their application and posted the hearing for February 13.