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Posted at: Sep 20, 2015, 12:50 AM; last updated: Sep 19, 2015, 9:49 PM (IST)

Not in gay abandon!

Not in gay abandon!

Manpriya Singh

Meghdhanyshya — The colour of life, a film based on the gay prince of Rajpipla is not going down well with the Supreme Court. Does not a film based on homosexuality deserve equal treatment as other films?

Time to take respective positions behind the dais and pull all unresolved matters. Read Supreme Court, moral policing, freedom of expression and homosexuality. This time, it’s not the Censor Board, since it has given the necessary clearance to Meghdhanyshya — The colour of life. A film based on the true story of the “gay prince of Rajpipla”, Manvendra Singh Gohil.

The word ‘gay’ once again has the interested parties (which is those passionately opinionated, concerned citizens, law enforcers and the film fraternity) dwell on the latest ruling by the Supreme Court.

The facts of the case

While the Gujarat government grants 100 per cent exemption from entertainment tax to all Gujarati colour films produced after April 1, 1997; this relief, however, is not meant for films depicting evil customs, blind faith, sati, dowry and such “social evils,” and those “against national unity”. So is a Gujarati film based on the true story of the “gay prince of Rajpipla”, Manvendra Singh Gohil to be classified as one that talks about social evils?

What the court says?

By citing that a section of society may perceive homosexuality as akin to “social evils,” the Apex Court has (by granting leave in the matter) practically pushed the release of the film indefinitely as the film will not be listed for hearing in ordinary course for at least three years from now. The bench also said that interim order (denying tax exemption to the film) shall continue.

What the film fraternity says?

While the maker KR Devmani has already stated that, “the movie is killed”, since it cannot wait for another three years. “There are two ways of looking at it. One when the film has been cleared by the Censor Board, I see no reason why the Supreme Court should not consider it at par with other Gujarati films and should subject it moral policing,” opines Pankaj Batra, having directed half a dozen Punjabi films, and while looking forward to his upcoming Dildariyaan. “Two, we have seen that several makers approach a controversial subject only for the sake of getting some leeway out of it. If the film has given just treatment to the subject and actually talks about something substantial (even if controversial) then it shouldn’t be a victim of personal biases.”

It’s hard not to view the case against the recent culture of ban. Argues A.P Mishra, Chandigarh-based independent film-maker, founder of Creative Cinema Circle, “Once the Censor Board has cleared the film then I see no reason why it should be further debated upon for tax exemptions. It’s a film nevertheless and a regional film at it. So, if the tax exemption is granted to other Gujarati films then why the deliberation in this case? In a way the Supreme Court decision challenges the authority of Censor Board.”

In the meanwhile

The makers are free to release the movie without seeking tax exemption.

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