The Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali on a petition which claims that the title of his forthcoming film `Ramleela' "hurts Hindu sentiments" but declined to stay the release of the movie scheduled for November 15.
A division bench of Justices VM Kanade and MS Sonak, however, refused to stay the release of the film saying if there was any merit in the petition then an appropriate order can be passed later.
The court also issued notices to co-producer Kishore Lulla, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Ministry and Information and Broadcasting, distribution rights holder Eros International and Maharashtra government.
Petitioner Sandeep Shukla is a member of Congress and vice president of Shree Maharashtra Ramleela Mandal which organises Ramleela performance -- based on the epic -- every year during Navratri in the city.
His lawyer A P Panday argued the name of the film suggested it had something to do with Lord Ram of Ramayana.
However, the film had nothing to do with Lord Ram and the promos and posters of the film "hurt sentiments of Hindus" as they contained "vulgar, rude, offencive dialogue" and "objectionable scenes which degrade the religious feelings".
When one hears the song from the film `Ramji ki chaal', the image of Lord Ram comes to mind "but the fact is completely different".
To this, Justice Kanade said "image of Lord Ram is embedded in minds (of people) since thousands of years and no one can spoil it."
Advocate Pandey said the petitioner only wanted the name changed. "To justify the name, they have named the lead characters in the movie as Ram and Leela. Even the CBFC has overlooked this fact," Pandey said.
The petition seeks stay to the release but the judges did not entertain this plea, adjourning the hearing to November 18.