India: Film banned for allegedly hurting religious sentiments

The Allahabad High Court in Delhi has banned director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s romantic saga ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’ in Uttar Pradesh, India.


The order to ban the film was passed on a petition praying for the cancellation of the Censor Board certification given to the film on 1 November 2013 and sought that controversial and objectionable dialogues be removed from the film.

The film starring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh was released on 15 November 2013.

The petition had contended that the film was hurting religious sentiments of Hindus and its title ‘Ramleela’ was giving a wrong message to society as Lord Ram’s ‘leela’ (act) had great impact on Indian society.

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Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s flick ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’ is surrounded by controversies again as Allahabad High Court banned the screening of the film in Uttar Pradesh.

The release is permitted only on the notice that the words ‘Ram-Leela’ and ‘Raasleela’ should not be inculcated in the title.

UP government’s Chief Standing Council IP Singh stamped the report saying, “The court has banned the movie in UP and has directed the state government to ensure compliance of the ban.”

This order has been passed after C/M Shri Maryada Purshottam Bhagwan Ramleela Committee, who organises Ramleela every year during Dussehra, filed a petition saying that the title hurts religious sentiments of billions. After this, a bench of Justices Devi Prasad Singh and Ashok Pal Singh issued a notice to Eros International and Bhansali to submit counter affidavit within four weeks and rejoinder within next two weeks.

The court stated,

“The meaning assigned to Ram-Leela and Rasleela in Encyclopaedia Britannica is a well researched meaning and prima facie no film-maker has the right to use the title, ‘Ram Leela, Raas Leela or alike works which are used in Indian since ages for a particular purpose.”

The court further added in its statement,

“Meaning assigned to a particular word by the people since thousand years of civilization cannot be given a different meaning by film makers. Obviously, use of film for a different purpose as a measure of cheap popularity or promotion is not permissible since it hurts sentiments of the people. As an interim measure, we direct the state of UP to stop display of film in the State of UP, titled ‘Goliyon ki Raasleela-Ram Leela’ forthwith. It shall be open for the respondents to display the film in the state of UP without using the title Ram-Leela and Raas Leela.”

The film is based on Shakespeare’s play Romeo & Juliet and stars Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in lead roles.

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