On September 7, the Bombay Civil Court provided some relief to actor Salman Khan by imposing a temporary restraint on a mobile video game named Selmon Bhoi that is allegedly based on the Hit and Run case of Salman Khan. The court has noted that the images, mechanical features and make of the game give an impression that it is based on the case linked to Salman Khan.
The court said, “When the plaintiff has not given any consent for installing, preparing and running such game which is very similar to his identity and the case which was against him, certainly his right to privacy is being deprived and is also tarnishing his image.” Judge KM Jaiswal temporarily restricted access to the game and restrained the company, Parody Studios Pvt. Ltd that created the game by disseminating, launching, re-launching and recreating it or creating any content related to Salman Khan. The court has directed to immediately take down/block/disable the access to the game from all platforms, including Google Play Store.
Reportedly, Salman Khan, through DSK Legal, had approached the court against Parody Studios Pvt Ltd and its Directors, Google LLC and Google India Pvt Ltd seeking injunctions and reliefs related to the game developed by the company that is available on Google Play Store. In his plea, Khan said that the game is phonetically similar to Salman Bhai, a popular name by which his associates and fans call him. The images and the format of the game appear to be a caricatured version of the Hit and Run case and the Blackbuck case in which Salman was named as accused. Both the cases are sub-judice before different courts.
Khan’s legal team said that the defendants intentionally created the game to gain a commercial advantage by his image without seeking his consent. They claimed it would tarnish the actor’s reputation and goodwill which is against the purview of Article 19 of the constitution of India. Further, he sought enforcement of his right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The court observed, “It is clear that right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and property guaranteed to the citizens of this country by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.” The court said that the defendant company used Khan’s identity for commercial gains and restricted them from using the actor’s name for any purpose in the future without getting the required consent.
As time was granted to the defendant to file a reply, the court ordered, “Till the defendants file the reply and as the prima facie case is made out by the plaintiff, the balance of convenience also lies in his favour and if no ad-interim reliefs are granted the plaintiff will suffer irreparable loss which can not compensated in terms of money.”
The game has striking similarities to the Salman Khan case
Parody Studios Pvt. Ltd. is a Nagpur based company owned by Mrunal Atulrao Bodkhe and Chinmay Subhash Gawande. Incorporated in December 2020, the company recently launched a game by the name Selmon Bhoi which is loosely based on the Hit and Run case linked to Salman Khan. The tutorial of the game shows blackbucks instead of humans. Interestingly, Salman is linked to a case where he was accused of killing an endangered animal in Rajasthan.
We downloaded and played the game for a few minutes to see if it has any similarities with the actor or the case. Here are the observations.
When you first install the game, there is a disclaimer in Hindi and English that says, “This game presentation is merely a fictional context. Any driver who tries to relate this video game to the real world is a complete a**hole and can go f**k themselves.”
The language of the disclaimer perfectly matches with the description of the company that says on LinkedIn, “We are a Game development company. As the title suggests, we don’t care about anything.” Also, if you open their website, the top banner says, “Parody Studios – F**K Everything”.
Now let’s discuss the game. The character used in the game has a striking similarity to Salman Khan and looks like a caricature of the character. The description of the game reads, “Selmon Bhoi is on a quest to finish all life on earth by smashing the hell out of every single BOO-slims life. The BOO-slims took Aish from him (Generally sleeping on the footpath) when he was drunk. Surely, he had beaten her too much but still, love is love, and nobody can separate two lovers from each other, not even Bach…ns. These merciless BOO-slims must DIE! Join Selmon Bhoi and his driver on the quest to: Kill.”
There is an introduction video that plays for a single time when you first install the video. The commentary of the video says, “It was a dark lonely night. Selmon was sad. He had used Aish (wine bottle in the game) and threw it away. (In the background, there were some noises that sounded like straight out of a porn film). Suddenly, he realized what has happened in his life. He turned his car towards the footpath. There he noticed some aliens sleeping and he hit them with the car. The whole world was filled with happiness. But our tiger was not aware that the army of the alien planet is coming for him. However, there was a question in everyone’s mind if Selmon killed the aliens or his beloved driver did it.”
Notably, in the Hit and Run case, Salman Khan’s driver has claimed that he was driving the car that night.
Basically, in the game, you have to move the car saving it from the obstacles that can be trees and rocks. You need to hit people or animals and collect coins while moving ahead on the rotating earth. When you hit an obstacle, the windows of the car get damaged, and after three hits, the game would be over. When you hit a person, you will hear screams.
In the practice session, there are no human beings but blackbucks that you have to kill by hitting with your car.