Court rejects petition filed against release of ‘Shanghai’



MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has rejected a petition filed by an organization called Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, seeking to stall the release of Dibakar Banerjee’s ‘Shanghai’. The petitioners claim was that the song ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ in the movie was outrageous. Passing in favour of the filmmaker, the Court said, "We do not find anything objectionable in the said song. In a democracy, every person has a right to voice his views and opinions. The same right to speech and expression cannot be curtailed except under some circumstances."
Vikas Padora, counsel for Tejinder Singh Pal Bagga, president of ‘Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena’, alleged that the term ‘Bharat Mata’ has been presented in the "most humiliating, outrageous and insulting manner" in the song and that it showed the writer had "no love and respect" for India. "The sentiments and emotions of millions of persons, who have not even heard the song so far, needed to be respected as terms like dengue and malaria…are used as synonyms for Bharat Mata, " said Bagga.

However, the Court disagreed. "Similar kinds of accusation were being made against great filmmaker Satyajit Ray that he used to sell darker side of India abroad. You cannot restrict artistic freedom. The author of the song has merely sought to portray the existing state of affairs in India, once considered a golden bird…. It is now infested with diseases like dengue and malaria. The petition is dismissed," said the bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajiv Shakdher.

A happy music director Vishal Dadlani tweeted, “PIL against ‘Shanghai’ rejected by the Delhi High Court! The Court has protected freedom of speech! BHARAT MATA KI JAI! And today, with no sarcasm at all, and with deepest thanks to the Delhi High Court!”

Shanghai, directed by Dibakar Banerjee, starring Emraan Hashmi, Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin, Prosenjit Chatterjee and Amin Raj, is based on novel Z by Vassilis Vassilikos. The film is slated for release on June 8.