Hindi film industry moves Delhi HC against news media

Bollywood comes together to seek redress against the irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory reporting by certain media houses

Image Courtesy:zee5.com

On October 12, a civil suit was filed before the Delhi High Court by four Hindu film industry associations and thirty-four leading film producers against the vicious and derogatory reportage by a section of the news media.

The suit names Arnab Goswamy and Pradeep Bhandari of Republic TV, as well as Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar of Times Now as defendants, and prays that they be directed to refrain “from making or publishing irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood as a whole and members of Bollywood, and to restrain them from conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities and interfering with the right to privacy of persons associated with Bollywood. The Plaintiffs are also praying that the Defendants abide by the provisions of the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, and to withdraw, recall and take down all the defamatory content published by them against Bollywood.”

The four film associations are:

·        The Producers Guild of India
·        The Cine & TV Artiste Association
·        The Film and TV Producers Council
·        Screenwriters Association

Film producers backing the suit filed through DSK legal include Aamir Khan Productions, Anil Kapoor Film and Communication Network, Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Frahan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures, Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, Reliance Big Entertainment, Salman Khan Ventures, Vinod Chopra Films, Vishal Bhardwaj Films, YashRaj Films and many others.

The plaintiffs take umbrage to certain terms used by these media houses in their reportage, such as “dirt”, “filth”, “scum”, “druggies” and expressions such as “it is Bollywood where the dirt needs to be cleaned”, “all the perfumes of Arabia cannot take away the stench and the stink of this filth and scum of the underbelly of Bollywood”, “This is the dirtiest industry in the country”, and “cocaine and LSD drenched Bollywood”.

The suit goes on to say, “The livelihood of persons associated with Bollywood is being severely impacted by the smear campaign being run by the Defendants. This is in addition to the ongoing pandemic which has resulted in extreme revenues and work opportunity loss. The privacy of the members of Bollywood is being invaded, and their reputations are being irreparably damaged by painting the entire Bollywood as criminals, seeped in drug culture, and making being part of Bollywood as synonymous with criminal acts in the public imagination.”

A press release by the plaintiffs said, “Some of the Defendants are also openly flouting the Programme Code framed under Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 contained in Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, which governs the television channels owned and operated by these Defendants. These Defendants are conducting and publishing parallel private ‘investigations’ and effectively acting as “courts” to condemn persons connected with Bollywood as guilty based on what they claim is “evidence” found by them, thereby trying to make a mockery of the criminal justice system.”

The Plaintiffs clarify that they are not seeking a blanket gag order against media reportage of the investigation in the cases relating to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput or of the subsequent investigation by the Narcotics Control Bureau, Mumbai. “The Plaintiffs are merely seeking perpetual and mandatory injunction against the Defendants from carrying on reportage and publication of material that violates applicable laws,” said the statement.

It is noteworthy that the said smear campaign began in the aftermath of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide earlier this year. His partner, actor Rhea Chakraborty was dragged through the muck with vile allegations being made against her on a daily basis. She has recently secured bail and according to her lawyer Satish Maneshinde she too is going to fight back against those who tried to defame her. Maneshinde said, “We will be forwarding a list of people to CBI who made fake and false claims on TV and Electronic Media including carrying mobile recording and fake stories on SSR case with particular reference to Rhea Chakraborty to go after them and record their statements. We will request CBI to take legal proceedings against them for misleading the investigations.”

Many other film personalities were also dragged into the controversy including actors Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan were also questioned by the Narcotics Control Bureau after media houses made a series of serious allegations of substance abuse against them.


Guilty as charged: Investigators, judge, jury and executioners of TV news ‘debates’
Actor Rhea Chakraborty arrested by NCB, but the TV media trail continues to bay for blood
SSR’s tragic death: Are we missing the wood for the trees?



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