Courts cannot interfere with the artistic freedom of a filmmaker unless there is any violation of laws, the Kerala High Court observed on Friday while hearing plea to remove Malayalam movie "Churuli" from Over the Top (OTT) platforms for the use of abusive language in the movie [Peggy Fen v Central Board of Film Certification & Ors.]..Justice PV Kunhikrishnan noted that according to the filmmakers, the characters of Churuli are merely using a colloquial language that exists in the imaginary village which happens to be filthy and obscene language.The Court opined that it cannot dictate what slang a character in a film should use unless the film violates any existing law. "This court invoking the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India cannot dictate the filmmaker to use the Valluvanadan slang Malayalam or Kannur slang Malayalam or Trivandrum slang Malayalam in the movie. This court can only verify whether exhibition of Churuli film violates any existing law enacted to ensure public order, decency or morality. While deciding the same, the artistic freedom of the filmmaker must be kept in mind", the Court said in its order.The Court nevertheless directed the State Police Chief to constitute a team to watch Churuli on the OTT platform to ascertain whether there is any violation of law.The team must watch the movie within the next three days and verify whether there is any criminal offence or statutory violation made out, the Court ordered.The team is expected to file a report before the Court regarding the movie within three weeks time.The matter will be taken up next on January 31.The State Police Chief was impleaded as party to the case. .The Court in in its order today emphasised the importance of protecting artistic freedom and observed that those who do not wish to see the film, can simply choose not to pay and watch it on the OTT platform."A cinema is the creation of a filmmaker. Artistic freedom generally means the freedom to imagine, create and distribute cultural expressions. Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution envisages a fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression to all citizens but of course with an exception mentioned in Article 19(2). The film Churuli is exhibited on an OTT platform. Those who want to watch it can pay and watch it. There is no compelled viewing of this movie. The (viewers of the) OTT platforms cannot be considered as captive audience to watch the movie," the order stated. .Churuli is a Malayalam movie directed and co-produced by Lijo Jose Pellissery and written by S Hareesh. The original story and characters are based on a short story from the book Kaligaminarile Kuttavalikal, written by Vinoy Thomas.The movie, which has been described as a mind-churner, was released on OTT platform SonyLiv on November 19, 2021..The story of the film, as summarised by the court in its order is as follows"Churuli is an imaginary village of the filmmakers situated in a forest area. Inmates of churuli have no connection with the outside world and all of them are absconders. The language used by the inmates are colloquial language containing obscene and filthy words. Two cops reach Churuli and apprehend a criminal. The cops reach Churuli in disguise and try to mingle with the villagers to find the criminal they are searching for. The cops also use the same obscene and filthy language to find the wanted criminal. At last, they apprehend the criminal. This is the sum and substance of the admitted story of the film".The petition before the High Court, filed by a lawyer Peggy Fen through advocates CA Anoop and Krishna R, has sought the removal of the movie from the OTT platform citing uncensored language.According to the petitioner, the "overdose of foul language" in the movie opposes public order, decency and morality. The petitioner further alleged that the Censor Board violated the rules and regulation by permitting the release of the movie and such release could attract offences under the Indian Penal Code as well.The petitioner pointed out that children and teenagers have much more access to OTT platforms these days especially during the pandemic period when they are mostly confined to their homes and have enough time to watch the content, on OTT platforms, on their phones and computers.