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Delhi High Court refuses stay on Gunjan Saxena biopic

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has challenged release of the movie for allegedly portraying the Air Force as gender-biased and distorting facts.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
September 3, 2020 2:33:06 am
A still from the movie.

THE DELHI High Court on Wednesday declined to issue any order of interim injunction against the online streaming of Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl. It also made Flight Lieutenant (retd) Gunjan Saxena a party to the suit filed by the Centre against the biopic and issued a notice to her, seeking her response.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has challenged release of the movie for allegedly portraying the Air Force as gender-biased and distorting facts in depicting the life of Saxena, who was among the first women to fly in a combat zone during the Kargil War. It sought the movie’s immediate withdrawal from online streaming platforms and reserved the right to claim damages from the filmmakers.

While issuing notice to the producer Dharma Productions Private Limited, filmmaker Karan Johar, Netflix and five others connected with production of the biopic, the court observed that the movie has already been released and that the Centre should have approached it earlier. The case has now been posted for hearing on September 18.

Contending that the movie was “improperly released” without “requisite clearances”, the MoD has argued that it will have a “cascading effect” on the image of the Air Force. The court was told that the movie was never shown to the Preview Committee of MoD, in contravention of its 2013 guidelines pertaining to production of movies related to armed forces.

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“The actions of the Defendants portray Indian Air Force’s attitude towards women in general and lady officers in particular per se as, derogatory, insinuating, scurrilous, perfidious and disparaging to such an extent that any viewer is likely to form an adverse opinion as regard the Organisation…,” the ministry has said in the petition.

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