If any publicity is good publicity, Pooja Bhatt's 'Jism 2' -- making headlines for all the wrong reasons has something more to cheer about. A PIL has been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking a stay on the release of the film even before it has been cleared by the CBFC, as well as challenging the provisions of the law which define the powers of the Censor Board.
The PIL, filed by activist Rakesh Nayayik from Varanasi, raises an objection to the inclusion of Sunny Leone in the film. "We have sought a stay order on the release of Jism 2 because of the sexually explicit content of the movie, and the inclusion of Sunny Leone in the film, for the adverse moral impact that her presence would have on society," elaborates advocate SMA Kazmi, the legal counsel in the case.
Kazmi argues that bringing an adult film star from the West into mainstream Bollywoodcinema would send out a wrong message to aspiring actresses in the country. "Till now, there were usually two routes that one took into the film industry -- one, through film schools or theatre, and two, via modelling. But inducting a porn star into Bollywood is introducing a third and more questionable medium of entry into Hindi films," he adds.
Such is the conviction of the lawyer in his case that he has also challenged the validity of Section 5(B) of the Cinematography Act of 1952. "Section 5(B) of the Cinematography Act legally equips the Censor Board to examine the content of a film and stop its exhibition if it is considered to be violating the morality or decency of our society. But it does not give enough teeth to the Board to be able to question the impact of a star's persona. Actors are seen as trendsetters and icons of the society, and when the law was chalked in 1952, no one would have conceived a situation such as this, when a porn star is allowed to act in a film."
The petitioner considers this as a legal flaw, and that Section 5(B) of the Cinematography Act is ultra-vires to the Constitution of India. "Article 19 (2) of the Constitution says that the Right to Freedom of Expression -- under which one would catergorize the making of a film -- can be restricted if it affects the decency or morality of the country in any way. If the Censor Board cannot restrict the entry of an actor who publicizes her porn star status, we believe it is violating this article," says Kazmi in explanation.
The bench comprising Chief Justice S R Alam and Justice Vikram Nath have deferred the hearing in the case till August 8.