Orissa High Court postpones state film award programme amid row

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court postponed Monday the state film award ceremony scheduled to be held December 14. It directed re-evaluation of all entries selected for the programme. The Orissa High Court order came on a writ petition by director Bobby Islam. He contended that his film was not on the final list of the 31st Odisha State Film Awards, despite being an original movie.

The petitioner alleged that two other films have been selected on several categories though they were ineligible for entry under the Orissa State Awards for Films Rules as they were not original.

During the hearing, Additional Government Advocate PC Panda informed the bench of Justice Arindam Sinha that applicants for the two films, Khusi and Golmal Love, had ‘clearly mentioned’ in the entry forms that those were not dubbed versions, adaptations or remakes of other films.

Panda contended that Chhabirani, the petitioner’s film, ‘contained immoral sexually explicit acts and had the potential of creating a furore, if granted the award’. It could have spoilt the social harmony of the society, he claimed.

Besides, the second half of Chhabirani was a ‘blatant copy’ of a Bollywood movie, the government counsel submitted. The kind of violence, rape and murder shown in the movie is in no way part of Odia tradition and culture that the petitioner claimed his film has depicted, he submitted.

Justice Sinha in his order said the ceremony, scheduled to be held Tuesday, would stand postponed. The bench directed that the state, through its functionary, would re-evaluate all entries for awards, and the result would be made known to the petitioner and all stakeholders. The ceremony will be held post disposal of the writ petition, Sinha said.

The matter would again be heard January 7.


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