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"Samrat Prithviraj" Film Is Caste Neutral, Does Not Depict King As Rajput Or Gurjar: Yash Raj Films Tells Delhi High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
1 Jun 2022 8:22 AM GMT
Samrat Prithviraj Film Is Caste Neutral, Does Not Depict King As Rajput Or Gurjar: Yash Raj Films Tells Delhi High Court
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The Delhi High Court has disposed of a plea against Akshay Kumar starrer "Samrat Prithviraj" for allegedly depicting the ruler as a Rajput King. The plea claimed that Prithviraj Chauhan was a Gurjar King. The film is set to hit the theatres on June 3. A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta closed the matter after counsel for Yash Raj Films made...

The Delhi High Court has disposed of a plea against Akshay Kumar starrer "Samrat Prithviraj" for allegedly depicting the ruler as a Rajput King. The plea claimed that Prithviraj Chauhan was a Gurjar King. The film is set to hit the theatres on June 3.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta closed the matter after counsel for Yash Raj Films made a categorical statement that the movie is absolutely neutral and does not refer to any caste, either Rajput or Gurjar.

The plea was filed by Gurjar Samaj Sarv Sangthan Sabha Ekta Samanya Samiti through Advocate Rakesh Kumar.

It claimed that the film is based on the book Prithviraj Raso, a composition by famous Indian poet Chand Bardai Barot. It was averred that the book itself refers to Prithviraj Chauhan as a Gurjar warrior and hence, depicting him as a Rajput King in the film is wrong.

He cited certain articles and discourses, including the Wikipedia page, allegedly promoted by the producers of the film, to show that the film depicts the ruler as a Rajput.

However, ASG Chetan Sharma appearing for Central Board of Film Certification and the counsel for Yash Raj Films informed the Court that the movie does not portray the ruler as either Rajput or Gurjar.

Yash Raj films was represented by a team by Abhishek Malhotra, Managing Partner, Naomi Chandra, Partner and Sanya Dua, Senior Associate, TMT Law Practice.

It was further submitted that various uploads on different websites in relation to the movie describing Prithviraj Chauhan as Rajput king have not been posted by them; and only the poster of the movie has been produced and circulated by them, which does not describe him as either Rajput or Gurjar.

At this juncture, the Court asked the Respondents as to why they should not be directed to issue a statement clarifying that Prithviraj Chauhan was not a Rajput King.

"If your project is being depicted in relation to a Rajput king, which he is not, why should you remain silent?" Justice Sanghi asked.

However, the counsel for Yash Raj Films responded that the production house wants to show it as an Indian film and has consciously kept it caste-neutral.

He further pointed out that the film has become a scapegoat in clashes between different communities. In this regard he referred to a challenge to the film made by Karni Sena before the Allahabad High Court, claiming that the film's title hurts its religious sentiments.

Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that if the movie is caste-neutral, his grievance stands resolved and he does not wish to press the petition any further.

Accordingly, the plea was disposed of. However, the Court made it clear that the Respondents shall remain bound by their statement.

Significantly, the film was earlier titled 'Prithviraj'. However, subsequent to multiple challenges stating that the title disrespects and lowers the dignity of the great emperor, its title was changed to "Samrat Prithviraj".

Case Title: Gurjar Samaj Sarv Sangthan Sabha Ekta Samanya Samiti v. Union of India & Ors.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 525

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