Delhi HC Refuses To Stay Release of Hansal Mehta’s Film ‘Faraaz’

The Delhi High Court has refused to stay the release of Hansal Mehta’s film, “Faraaz”, which is scheduled to be released at theatres on Friday and said to be based on a 2016 terrorist attack in Dhaka.

The court made it clear on Thursday that the makers shall scrupulously adhere to a disclaimer that says the film is inspired by the attack and the elements contained in it are purely a work of fiction.

The court was hearing a plea moved by the family members of the terror attack victims.

The mothers of two victims of the Holey Artisan terrorist attack in Dhaka in Bangladesh had objected to the release of the film on February 3 on the ground of invasion of privacy.

A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh granted time to the appellants’ counsel to obtain further instructions in the matter and listed it for hearing on February 22.

The court observed that the counsel for the filmmakers has categorically stated that pictures or images relating to the appellants’ daughters do not feature in the movie.

As the appellants’ counsel sought the court’s direction to the filmmakers to shorten the disclaimer, the division bench said it was in full agreement with the view of a single-judge bench on the long disclaimer.

“You want some editorial control over the film. Sorry, we cannot help you,” it said, adding, “We see nothing unfounded with this disclaimer.”

The filmmakers’ counsel submitted that the film is scheduled to be released on Friday, prints have been distributed and tickets have been sold.

The division bench was hearing an appeal filed by the two women against the single-judge order declining to stay the screening of the film.

Before the single judge, the two women had sought to restrain the film’s release on the ground that it might depict their daughters in “bad light”, which would not only make them revisit their trauma, but also violate the right to privacy of the deceased and cause defamation.

Their counsel had told the court that the filmmakers refused to show the movie to the family members of the two victims and contrary to their stand before the single judge, the film showed the images of their deceased daughters when it was screened in London.

In October last year, the single-judge bench dismissed the women’s plea seeking an interim stay on the film’s release.

The judge had observed that the right to privacy of the deceased was not inheritable by their mothers and the “disclaimer” in the film prima facie took care of their concerns.

Seeking an interim stay on the film’s release, the appellants had submitted that there was a reasonable apprehension that the movie was made to show Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain as a “protagonist or something of the attack” and such a depiction would be completely false.

The filmmakers had stated that the incident was extensively covered by the global media and there was material available in the public domain that revealed intricate details of the attack, including the identities of the victims, and the film is a work of fiction that has depicted the attack with utmost sensitivity.

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