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Court dismisses suit for ban on ‘Bajirao Mastani’

A Pune court dismissed a suit seeking a ban on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming film “Bajirao Mastani” for allegedly distorting history relating to late king Shrimant Bajirao Peshwe and his family members.

The court opined that the plaintiff could approach the Central Board of Film Certification, commonly known as Censor Board, with his grievances about the release of the film.

“The film cannot be released without the authority of the Censor Board. The plaintiff can approach the concerned authority if he has any grievances about the release of the picture. Hence, the (civil) suit is not maintainable under section 91 of CrPc. The plea is rejected,” said S S Gulhane, Chief Judge, Senior Division, Pune, in his order.

“Under section 91 of C.Pc, a suit is maintainable if it is a case of nuisance or other wrongful act likely to affect public life. Production of a film cannot be termed as public nuisance. The act merely of affecting sentiments of a particular class do not amount to public nuisance. Hence, the suit is dismissed,” the judge noted.

The suit, filed by Hemant Patil, president of NGO Bharat Against Corruption, alleged that historical facts had been wrongly portrayed in the film while showing late king Bajirao Peshwe and his wives Kashibai and Mastani.

The “Pinga” song in the film shows leading heroines Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone dancing together, which, the plaintiff said “distorts” history.

‘Pinga’ dance is an integral part of Marathi culture and has been portrayed as an ‘item song’ in the film, advocate Wajid Khan argued on behalf of the plaintiff.

Earlier, Prasadrao Peshwe, the descendant of Bajirao Peshwa I, had also alleged that historical facts have been “altered” while portraying the late king and his wives in the film.

In a letter written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Prasadrao demanded that the government look into the matter, review the soon-to-be-released film, investigate the matter and take a decision accordingly.

The film is set for release on December 18.

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