As per reports, the Bombay High Court on January 24, 2019 refused to stay the release of the film Manikarnika: the Queen of Jhansi in a petition filed by Vivek Tambe, claiming to be the fifth descendant of Rani Laxmibai.

The petitioner alleged that there are many factual errors in the film such as the year of birth of Rani Laxmibai, her age of marriage, scenes of her miscarriage etc.

The producers of the film opposed the plea, saying the birth year was provided by historians and that there is no scene in the movie showing a miscarriage.

The CBFC lawyer informed the court that the examining committee of CBFC has given due consideration before certifying the film. Further, a disclaimer has also been included in the movie saying certain elements have been dramatised and fictionalised and that it does not intend to hurt any person’s sentiments.

The CBFC lawyer also informed the court that the filmmakers were asked to put up names of historians SP Pathak and Ramakant Verma who were in charge of cross-checking the history. The film does not claim historical authenticity at any point.

Hearing all these arguments, the Bombay High Court asked the filmmakers to file a detailed reply to all the allegations of the petitioners within two weeks but refused to stay the release of the film.

[Order copy not yet uploaded]

This is not the first time that historical films have gone into litigation on allegations of distortion of facts. Few examples

  • Paramjit Kaur and Ors. v Union of India (UOI) and OrsThe Petitioners were the relatives of martyr Bhagat Singh. They filed a petition to stop the screening of the film allegedly containing distorted versions of the life of Bhagat Singh.
  • Raghu Nath Pandey And Anr. Vs Bobby Bedi And Orsdescendants of Mangal Pandey family, filed a suit for civil defamation in respect of movie, Mangal Pandey -The Rising, alleging that the Defendants had defamed and mutilated the character for commercial purposes.
  • Ajit Pramod Talpade and Ors. Vs Rajesh Banga and Ors– The Petitioners sought an order directing the respondents not to release the film ‘Hawaizaada; on the ground that the movie is based and inspired by the real life story of Pandit Shivkar Bapuji Talpade and that the movie depicts the said Pandit Shivkar Bapuji Talpade in rampant style and a strong impression is created of the said person.
  • Cases were filed in relation to the films Bajirao Mastani and Padmavat as well.

Courts have in most cases allowed historical films to be released with disclaimers stating that cinematic liberties have been taken by the film makers.

Image source: here