Bombay High Court directs CBFC to examine Zero for allegedly hurting Sikh sentiments

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In a petition filed by Amritpal Khalsa before the Bombay High Court in relation to the trailer of the film ‘Zero’ in which the Petitioner has alleged that the religious sentiments of members of the Sikh community have been hurt as the trailer shows Shah Rukh Khan wearing a vest and shorts, with a garland of Rs 500 notes around his neck and a ‘kirpan’ in gatra tied diagonally across his body, reportedly, the High Court has directed the CBFC to examine the upcoming movie Zero starring to scrutinise the allegation of a petitioner that SRK is seen wearing a ‘kirpan’ in the poster and the trailer of the movie.

CBFC lawyer told the court that a certification from the censor board was pending and the poster in question was not part of the trailer submitted by the filmmakers while seeking certification to which the division bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice Sarang Kotwal questioned on how the release dates of the film were announced if the film has not yet been granted certification. The bench also asked if any action has been taken by the CBFC if such a scene was inserted in the trailer.

The counsels appearing from the Producer told the court that the lead actor is not wearing a ‘kirpan’ and that it was an ordinary sword. As per reports, the bench noted in its order that the CBFC does not know from where the release date, December 21, is indicated, when the film is not certified yet, as informed by the CBFC. The court also noted that the CBFC said that the petitioner’s application is for scrutiny. The bench further said that the CBFC should examine and scrutinise the allegations raised by the petitioner and posted the matter for hearing on December 18.

Release dates of films are announced well in advance to prevent multiple big films releasing on the same date. As regards certification of trailers is concerned, the same does not fall within the purview of the CBFC unless the trailer is exhibited in the cinema hall.

The CBFC has taken a mixed stance in the past in relation to whether film trailers need to be certified prior to being uploaded online. As reported here by Huffington post, in response to an RTI query, the CBFC had responded that they have no authority to regulate what filmmakers upload online. However, in another issue where Amartya Sen’s documentary trailer was uploaded online, CBFC had raised objections. In my view, CBFC does not have jurisdiction to regulate the trailers shown on the internet.

Image source: here