Nothing in 'Hamare Baarah' movie against Muslim community, says HC

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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said it watched actor Annu Kapoor-starrer "Hamare Baarah" movie and found nothing objectionable in it that was against the Quran or the Muslim community, and observed that the film is in fact aimed at upliftment of women.

It also said that the Indian public was "not gullible or silly".

A division bench of Justices B P Colabawalla and Firdosh Pooniwalla said the film's first trailer was objectionable, but that has been removed and all such objectionable scenes have been deleted from the movie.

The court noted that it was in fact a "thinking movie" and not the sort where the audience is expected to "keep their brains at home" and only enjoy it.

"The movie is in fact for the upliftment of women. The movie has a Maulana misinterpreting the Quran and in fact one Muslim man objects to the same in the scene. So this shows that people should apply their mind and not blindly follow such Maulanas," the high court said.

A bunch of petitions were filed in the HC earlier this month seeking a ban on the movie claiming that it was derogatory towards the Muslim community and had distorted what the Quran says.

While initially the high court postponed the release of the movie, it later permitted the release after the makers said the objectionable portions would be deleted as directed by the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC).

The petitioners then moved the Supreme Court, which last week stayed the release of the movie and directed the HC to hear and take an appropriate decision.

On Tuesday, the bench led by Justice Colabawalla said it has seen the movie after removal of all objectionable portions and found nothing in it that would incite violence.

The court said it has some suggestions over a few scenes which may still be a bit objectionable.

The bench said if all the parties concerned agree to the deletion of the objectionable parts then consent terms could be submitted, after which the court would pass an order on Wednesday permitting the release of the movie.

The bench, however, said it would be imposing a cost on the makers of the movie for releasing the trailer of the film even before receiving certification from the censor board.

"Violation was there vis-a-vis the trailer. So you will have to pay something towards a charity of the petitioner's choice. Cost will have to be paid. This litigation has got the film so much unpaid publicity," the court said.

"We don't think there is anything in the movie that would incite any violence. If we felt so we would be the first ones to object to it. Indian public is not so gullible or that silly," the court said.

The bench, however, said it agrees with the petitioners that the trailer and the posters were troublesome.

The court cautioned the makers of the film to also be careful and not include dialogues and scenes under the garb of creative freedom to hurt the sentiments of any religion.

"The makers should also be careful what they put out. They cannot hurt the sentiments of any religion. They (Muslim) are the second largest religion of this country," the court said.

The bench said there is a scene in the movie where the character threatens to kill his daughter and then takes the name of god.

"That may be objectionable. Doing something like this in the name of god may send the wrong signal. Removing this one line will not cause any hindrance to the creative freedom of the maker," the high court said.

It added that it was surprised that the petitioners were making such statements against the movie when they had not even seen the movie.

The movie is about one dominant man and his family, the HC said.

The petitioners claimed that the movie promotes domestic violence, to which the bench said domestic violence cannot be said to be limited to only one community.

The movie was initially slated to be released on June 7 and then on June 14.

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