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'A Publicity Litigation' : Kerala High Court Reserves Orders In Plea Against Movie Churuli

Hannah M Varghese
31 Jan 2022 6:42 AM GMT
A Publicity Litigation :  Kerala High Court Reserves Orders In Plea Against Movie Churuli
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The Kerala High Court on Monday reserved orders in the petition filed against the Malayalam movie 'Churuli' citing excessive use of abusive and obscene language.Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan while hearing the matter also noted that prima facie, he was of the opinion that no statutory provision was violated by the publication of the film and that it was merely another...

The Kerala High Court on Monday reserved orders in the petition filed against the Malayalam movie 'Churuli' citing excessive use of abusive and obscene language.

Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan while hearing the matter also noted that prima facie, he was of the opinion that no statutory provision was violated by the publication of the film and that it was merely another 'publicity litigation'. 

ADGP Grashious Kuriakose appeared on behalf of the respondents and submitted that the movie had received a certification from the Censor Board and that all possible warnings had been issued regarding its content, including that it was an 18+ movie. 

The Court also noted that since it was streamed on an OTT platform, no question of captive audience arises in the matter. 

The observation came in a plea filed by a lawyer Peggy Fen through Advocates C.A. Anoop and Krishna R. alleging that the Lijo Jose Pellissery- directed film used offensive words excessively in a deliberate attempt to garner more attention to it.

There was no representation for the petitioner today.

In the plea, it was contended that the Censor Board has violated the rules and regulations by sanctioning the release of the movie and that such a release even attracts provisions of IPC.

The mystery-horror film Churuli was released on Sony LIV, a public OTT platform, on November 19th 2021. Directed and co-produced by Lijo Jose Pellissery and written by S Hareesh, the plot is based on a short story from the book Kaligaminarile Kuttavalikal, authored by Vinoy Thomas.

Soon after its release, social media was flooded with trolls including references to the profanities displayed in the movie and the confusing plot twist.

In the previous hearing, the Court had suo motu impleaded the State Police Chief to file a statement to report if there was any statutory violation in exhibiting the movie. 

In its statement that runs 14 pages, the police did not find anything against the movie. 

The Judge had further noted that a filmmaker has certain rights under artistic freedom under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. 

It was also held that since the movie was broadcast on an OTT platform and not a movie theatre, there was no question of the viewers being held captive audience to the film.

Case Title: Peggy Fen v. Central Board of Film Certification & Ors.

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