Leading Bollywood filmmakers have filed a suit in the Delhi High Court against what they term ‘irresponsible’, ‘derogatory’ and ‘defamatory’ reporting by a section of the electronic media against the film industry in the wake of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
The suit singles out Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari and Times Now’s Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar for conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities and interfering with the right to privacy of persons associated with Bollywood.
The Plaintiffs are also praying that the channels abide by the provisions of the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, and withdraw, recall and take down all the defamatory content published by them against Bollywood.
The suit comes in the wake of the channels using highly derogatory words and expressions for Bollywood such as “dirt”, “filth”, “scum”, “druggies” and expressions such as “it is Bollywood 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 livelihood of persons associated with Bollywood is being severely impacted by the smear campaign being run by the Defendants. This is in addition to the ongoing pandemic which has resulted in extreme revenue and work opportunity loss”, the Suit contends.
The privacy of the members of Bollywood, the plaintiffs say, is being invaded, and their reputations are being irreparably damaged by painting the whole of Bollywood as criminals, seeped in drug culture, and making being part of Bollywood synonymous with criminal acts in the public imagination.
Some of the film industry’s biggest names, including Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Karan Johar, Ajay Devgn, Aditya Chopra and Farhan Akhtar, have come together in this unprecedented legal action against two channels – Republic TV and Times Now.
The suit states that the plaintiffs are not seeking a blanket gag order against media reports on the investigation in the cases relating to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput or that lodged by the NCB. They are seeking a perpetual and mandatory injunction against the Defendants from carrying on reportage and publication of material that violates applicable laws.
The suit has been filed by DSK Legal on behalf of the Plaintiffs.