Bollywood shows the power of one by moving to the Delhi High Court against Times Now, Republic TV

Updated: 14 October, 2020 10:58 IST | Uma Ramasubramanian, Mohar Basu | Mumbai

After 34 production houses file a lawsuit against Times Now, Republic TV for 'irresponsible' reportage, plaintiffs tell mid-day how studios, screenwriters, artistes came together over six weeks for the move.

Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan
Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan

Over the past four months, Bollywood was a sitting duck as a section of television anchors — who believe that the loudest is the truest — referred to it as "druggies", "scum" and "the dirtiest industry in the country". On Monday, in an unprecedented move, four cine bodies and 34 studios — including Aamir Khan Productions, Ajay Devgn Ffilms, Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment and Zoya Akhtar's Tiger Baby Digital — moved the Delhi High Court, seeking to restrain Republic TV and Times Now from making "irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks" against the industry. The lawsuit sought a direction to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and journalist Pradeep Bhandari, Times Now editor-in-chief Rahul Shivshankar and group editor Navika Kumar, instructing them to restrain from interfering with the right to privacy of persons associated with the industry. It also called to pull down all the defamatory content published by them against Bollywood.

Rahul Shivshankar and Arnab Goswami
Rahul Shivshankar and Arnab Goswami

One of the key plaintiffs reveals that in early September, artistes and filmmakers discussed taking action against the vilification of Bollywood. "A prominent association requested other bodies to join forces and take measures. Finally, a few weeks ago, the cine bodies — including Cine & TV Artistes Association, Producers' Guild, Indian Film & TV Producers' Council and Screenwriters Association, which boasts 31,000 writers — teamed up at the behest of filmmakers. After numerous discussions with prominent artistes and producers, they unanimously decided to seek legal recourse. Now, the industry is speaking up together as their dignified silence was being misconstrued as an admission of guilt," says the plaintiff.

Ajay Devgn and Zoya Akhtar
Ajay Devgn and Zoya Akhtar

The lawsuit stated that the industry is not asking for a blanket gag order against these channels' reportage of the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. Another plaintiff says, "We're not questioning the factual reporting of the case, but we want them to stop the media trial. The industry is made up of hardworking individuals and they are all being viewed derogatorily because of this smear campaign." If other cine bodies or individuals want to vouch support, provisions will be made for them to legally join the suit.

mid-day reached out to DSK Legal's senior advocate Anand Desai, who filed the lawsuit. He refused to comment as the matter is sub-judice.

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First Published: 14 October, 2020 07:01 IST

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