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Bombay HC permits ‘Hamare Baarah’ release after cuts, Here’s how SDPI, political wing of banned Islamist organisation PFI played a role in staying the release earlier

The CBFC is anticipated to issue a fresh certification by midday on June 20. Once certified, the creators can distribute the film on any platform.

The Bombay High Court granted clearance for the release of the educational film ‘Hamare Baarah’ on Wednesday (June 19), after the filmmakers agreed to remove ‘objectionable’ scenes or content from the movie. 

The ruling was issued by a division bench comprising Justice BP Colabawalla and Justice Firdosh Pooniwalla, who concluded that the film neither offends Muslim religious emotions nor distorts Quranic teachings. The court stated that the film, which has stirred widespread debate due to its emphasis on overpopulation, seeks to promote women’s empowerment.

The film, which is starring Annu Kapoor, sparked outrage with its initial trailer, which the court also deemed inappropriate. The bench confirmed that all inappropriate scenes have been deleted from the final version of ‘Hamare Baarah’.

“The movie is in fact for the upliftment of women. The movie has a Maulana misinterpreting the Quran and in fact one Muslim man objects to the same in the scene. So this shows that people should apply their mind and not blindly follow such Maulanas,” stated the High Court.

The court also slapped a Rs 5 lakh punishment on the producers for distributing a trailer with uncertified footage, mandating that the money be donated to a charity nominated by the petitioner.

“Violation was their vis-a-vis the trailer. So, you will have to pay something towards a charity of the petitioner’s choice. The cost will have to be paid. This litigation has got the film so much unpaid publicity,” the High Court noted.

“Hamare Baarah” was originally scheduled for release on June 14, but the Supreme Court ordered its delay earlier last week. The film was accused of being insulting to Islam and married Muslim women in India. During the hearing, the judges stated that they found the film’s teaser objectionable. “This morning we reviewed the teaser, and it contains objectionable material,” Justice Mehta was quoted as saying.

Islamists lauded the stay issued by SC

The stay on the film was lauded by former member of the Planning Commission, Syeda Saiyidain Hameed who said, “The court’s decision is commendable. Hamare Baarah is an instrument to denigrate Islam, to deepen hatred, and distort the teachings of the Quran. Islam accords the greatest dignity and power to women. This deliberate distortion was rightly rejected by the Court. May the people of India stand together against this deliberate ignominy.”

Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, president of All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat, an umbrella organisation of leading Muslim bodies had also hailed the Supreme Court for issuing a stay on the release of the movie. “Today’s stay order issued by the Supreme Court about the controversial film Hamaare Barah [previously called Hum Do, Hamare Baarah] is encouraging. The court has directed that the film should not be released until a petition against it in Bombay High Court is disposed of,” he said on 14th June.

Khan criticised the film for providing a stereotyped image of Muslims who do not follow family planning rules, and said it is part of the agenda to polarize the society in service of Hindutva.

Malik Moatasim, vice president, of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind had also commended the Supreme Court for issuing a stay in the matter. “We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the release of the film. However, we do not know yet what the final verdict would be. The film is just propaganda. It is an Islamophobic film likely to impact communal relations. It presents women too in a bad light. Maybe a hundred years ago, women could have had so many children. In today’s India, the fertility rates of Muslims have declined sharply as indeed of all communities,” he was quoted as saying on 14th June.

SDPI’s role in issuing stay on the release of movie

Several petitions were filed earlier this month seeking a ban on the film, alleging that it was derogatory towards the Muslim community and distorted the Quran’s teachings. The given petition was filed by Azhar Basha Tamboli, who is associated with the State Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the banned Islamist organisation Popular Front of India (PFI).

Azhar Tamboli s associated with Maharashtra SDPI

Tamboli stated that the film violated the Cinematograph Act, 1952, along with related rules and guidelines. The petition further claimed that the film’s certification was improper and that its release would infringe upon Article 19(2) and Article 25 of the Constitution.

Azhar Basha Tamboli (Photo obtained by OpIndia)

About three weeks ago, Karnataka SDPI’s Syeda Sadia also issued a statement condemning the content of the film. She said that Islamophobia was being spread through Bollywood and this was the issue to be talked about. She slammed the BJP government without taking its name and said that the party first politically captured the nation and was spreading hate against Islam for the last 10 years.

“Today even Bollywood is not being spared from spreading hate. Some movies like Kashmir Files, Kerala Story, 72 Hoorein, and Hamare Barah target a particular community and humiliate them. They show Muslims in bad light and this is part of some planned agenda. It’s the war between the majority and the minority. The ideology of Muslims is concrete and hence state is scared of it so it consistently targets the community,” she said.

Syeda Saidi

In the meantime, an Instagram handle associated with the SDPI also confirmed that the release date of the movie had been postponed and stayed by the Supreme Court due to the efforts undertaken by SDPI. The video has gone viral over the internet in which the unknown face of SDPI congratulates the party members and workers for their efforts to put a stay on the film. The face further states that SDPI hired lawyers Mayur Khandeparka, Aneesa Cheema, and Rekha Musale to represent Tamboli.

Saidi called these films unethical and demanded a ban on them. With these examples, it is evident how the SDPI has been playing a major role in making issues out of movies that actually show the reality of society and not target particular communities.

However, the Bombay Court stated that the movie, Hamare Barah had nothing objectionable in it. The court ordered that the film, with these modifications, must be resubmitted to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for recertification. The CBFC is anticipated to issue a fresh certification by midday on June 20. Once certified, the creators can distribute the film on any platform.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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