The next season of the Amitabh Bachchan hosted reality show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) has landed in legal trouble even before it begins.
The Bombay high court, on Tuesday, issued notices to the actor, the information and broadcasting ministry, the Advertising Standards Council of India and Sony TV after an Andheri resident filed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against the derogatory advertisements aired on TV to promote the show.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Girish Godbole heard the PIL filed by one Mukesh Sharma, 49, who has alleged that the promos were aimed at insulting freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the slogan – Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Main Tumhe Azadi Dunga – coined by him.
In the first scene of the promo, a child asks his father, who said, “Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Main Tumhe Azadi Dunga”? The father tells his son that it was he who just said it. The scene is repeated at four other places, and in the final scene Bachchan appears with a contender, who is asked the same question.
The contender, who happens to be the man from the first scene, answers the question in the same way as he had answered his son. While he realises his mistake, Bachchan tells the audience that they should not undermine any question even if its answer may be obvious.
While Sony TV refused to comment on the matter, Bachchan did not reply to a text message sent by HT.
However, replying to Sharma’s allegations, Rui Rodrigues, counsel for the Central Board for Film Certification, submitted that few scenes from the promos could not be isolated, and no allegations could be based on isolated parts. According to Rodrigues, the audio-visual should be viewed in its entirety, as in the end it gives out a message to the masses that they should not undermine any question, howsoever small it may appear.
Rodrigues also pointed out that the censor board had accorded its clearance to the promos only for theatrical release, and it was not responsible for its broadcast on television.
He further informed the court that the Advertising Standards Council of India clears advertisements before release, and the council should have looked into the promos before they were allowed released.
The court then issued notice to the council, which falls under the ministry of information and broadcasting.
The matter will come up for further hearing on July 28.