Madras HC stays Aarakshan release

NEW MUMBAI: Even as the Madras High Court today directed an interim stay of Prakash Jha‘s Aarakshan for non-payment of dues, the film is to be screened before the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Commission Chairman P L Punia said this here today after meeting Central Board of Film Certification Chairperson Leela Samson.

In Chennai, the stay by Justice Periyakaruppiah was granted after a civil suit was filed by Madhu Gupta and CG Photo Ltd for recovery of Rs 37.5 million in unpaid dues.
The petitioners had accused the filmmaker of not paying their dues and sought a stay on the release of the movie slated to be released on 12 August. The producer has not paid the money despite promise and the cheques given by him were reportedly dishonoured.

The film stars megastar Amitabh Bachchan with Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpayee and Prateik Babbar.

In Delhi, Punia said the film would be screened for the Commission, based on the outcome of the case in the Bombay High Court tomorrow. The commission wants to examine whether the film violates the provisions of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

Samson said that the Board was discussing all the issues with the Commission, but refused to divulge more since the matter was sub judice.

"The Commission has every right to be concerned about a matter of importance in the country. It has never said it wanted to interfere," Samson said, adding, "We do not have any issue in discussing issues with it."

Samson added, "The director Jha is right in saying that he won‘t be able to screen the movie for all. He‘s shown it to the right people, that is the CBFC."
The CBFC passed the film without cuts with a U/A certificate as it felt the film was thought provoking. The certificate was awarded after an examining committee, set up with representatives from the Dalit, OBC, SC and ST community, reviewed the movie.

Pro-reservationists are up in arms against the film, saying it is anti-Dalit. However, Jha has repeatedly said at press meets that the film is only dealing with the commercialisation of education by institutions taking advantage of reservation. He has not spoken against reservation, which he and Bachchan said is a fact of life since the Supreme Court had upheld it.

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