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Film industry groups, producers sue news channels for ‘irresponsible’ and ‘derogatory’ remarks

Republic TV, Times Now and anchors Arnab Goswami, Navika Kumar, Rahul Shivshankar and Pradeep Bhandari have been accused of carrying on a campaign of defamation against the entire film industry.

Arnab Goswami, Navika Kumar, Rahul Shivshankar

Our Correspondent

Four top film industry associations and a long line-up of producers have come together to sue a couple of news channels and their anchors, accusing them of constant mudslinging in the aftermath of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide.

The civil suit was filed before the Delhi high court by the Producers Guild of India, the Cine and Television Artistes Association of India (CINTAA), the Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTDC) and the Screenwriters Association (SWA) along with 34 production houses against Republic TV and its anchors Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari and Times Now and its anchors Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar as well as social media platforms and some unknown defendants.

The petititioners urged the court to ask all these defendants to refrain from making or publishing irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against the Hindi film industry as a whole and against its members and to stop media trials of film personalities and infringement of their right to privacy.

Top production houses Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, Vinod Chopra Films, Excel Entertainment, Red Chillies Entertainment, Aamir Khan Productions, Salman Khan Ventures, Rohit Shetty Pictures, Ajay Devgn Ffilms, Filmkraft Productions, Cape of Good Films, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and Reliance Big Entertainment have joined the petition along with banners like Clean Slate Filmz, Luv Films, Reel Life Productions, Roy Kapur Productions and Sikhya Entertainment.

The producers and associations have sued the channels for using derogatory terms like 'dirt', 'filth', 'scum' and ‘druggies’ for the Hindi film industry as a whole and expressions such as "it is 'Bollywood' [commercial Hindi cinema] 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 petitioners said the livelihoods of people associated with the film industry, already hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic, had been endangered by the smear campaign being carried out by the defendants. Moreover, the privacy of members of the film industry is being invaded and reputations are being irreparably harmed by attempts to paint the entire lot as 'criminals steeped in drug culture' and 'synonymous with criminal acts in the public imagination'.

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Indian cinema