Piku-Ray-SRK-Raj HC-Earthquake

If not for anything else, Piku – Motion Se Hi Emotion (2015, dir. Shoojit Sircar) shall be remembered for having referenced Calcutta and Satyajit Ray. In 1980, Ray had indeed directed a short film ‘Pikoor Diary’ for a French Television Channel. That Pikoo was a six-year old boy.

Looking for ‘Satyajit Ray’ references in judgments, I chanced upon: Sharukh Khan v. State of Rajasthan, RLW 2008 (1) Raj 809 that mentions in passing, “in our own time, V. Shanta Ram, Guru Dutt, K. A Abbas, Aparna Sen and Satyajit Ray have, like Ingrid Bergman and the New Wave French and Spanish directors-Godard, Truffaut, and Bunuel been bold experimenters and unconventional directors.” Here is more from the judgment:

In 1996, under the direction of Mr. Rajiv Mehra, a Hindi film Ram Jaane was released for public viewing after due certification by the Central Board of Certification. The Petitioner played the role of the protagonist in the film. In the later part of the film, the Hero-Petitioner is tried for triple murders. In the courtroom scene (at 2:24:00) the defense lawyer gets up to defend the hero who is, however, bent upon confessing his crime. He, therefore, questions the conduct of the lawyer and says: “This lawyer well knows that I have killed the three persons, yet he tries to save me. Why? For the sake of money? For the sake of money, he sells his morals. He sells the laws. By selling the laws, you people have turned life into a misery.” According to the Respondents, the said movie was released in Kota as well. When they went to see the movie, they found the above-noted dialogue as defamatory against the community of lawyers practicing in India. They claimed that because of the said dialogue, the Respondents were subjected to ridicule and anger from those who were sitting in the movie theater. They also alleged that their neighbours ridiculed them.

The Hon’ble High Court, held: “Considered against the background of the story’s plot, the offending dialogue does not come off as defamatory. It is not, in essence, criticism of even the legal fraternity. It is firstly an outburst of a frustrated man against the society whom he has failed to master and control. Secondly, it is a sign of his revolt against every symbol of authority. Thirdly, it is portrayal of a misguided youth. Fourthly, the character warns us about neglecting the misguided, the lost youth who has grown up on the footpaths and alleyways. Hence, it is a plea to take for their care and guidance, before the lost youth turns their ire on the society at large. Seen in its proper perspective, the dialogue is almost essential to the story pervaded with reformatory instinct. Hence, by no sleight of hand can the Protagonist’s utterance of the dialogue be extricated from its fictional frame and branded a defamatory rhetoric.”

Note to Self: There Was An Earthquake, As I Was Posting This. 

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