Kerala court issues notice in petition to prohibit exhibition of Malayalam movie ‘Varathan’

Kerala court issues notice in petition to prohibit exhibition of Malayalam movie ‘Varathan’

Murali Krishnan

A Munsiff court at Ernakulam today issued notice to the Director, Producer and writer of the Malayalam movie ‘Varathan’ in a suit seeking permanent prohibitory injunction against the movie.

The suit filed by members of ‘Papali’ family alleges that the movie has used the name of their family thereby tarnishing their reputation and goodwill.

Director of the movie, Amal Neerad, Producer Nazriya Nazim and Writers Suhas and Sharfu have been arraigned as defendants in the suit which has been filed through advocates Rekesh VR and Rajesh K Raju.

The plaintiffs belong to the Papali family which is a family with roots in Ernakulam.

“The plaintiffs and their family members are highly reputed and respected persons in the society, Papali family is an ancient and highly respectable family in the State. The members of the family include many well-known persons such as doctors, lawyers, police officer and many such other persons.”

The defendants released the movie Varathan on September 20. The movie uses the surname “Papali” in the film as the surname of a family depicted in the movie. Further, the movie also depicts the children of the elder most Papali as Baby, Peter and Kunjumon. The film thus refers to the first plaintiff and his brother by their names.

The film depicts these characters as “rogues and anti-socials” which is the basis for the plaintiff’s suit.

“The characters in the movie belonging to the Papali family are described as persons who are highly immoral. The characters are depicted as having devilry against the central woman character and having chased her and molesting her”, the petition states.

The petition also adverts to an article published in The New Indian Express newspaper, wherein the third defendant states that the film is based on real incidents.

The plaintiffs have submitted that it is for the above reason that the film does not have the disclaimer that “characters in the film are fictitious and have no relation to any person living or dead.”

By using the surname of the plaintiffs, the defendants have tarnished the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiffs and their family members and defamed them, the petition alleges.

The plaintiffs have further submitted that the defendants were aware of and had knowledge of the facts since the third defendant, the writer of the film, is a resident of Ernakulum and has “full knowledge and understanding about the family of the plaintiffs in Ernakulam.”

The petition also claims that the plaintiffs were shunned by their own friends who had seen the movie.

“Some of the clients of the second plaintiff, after seeing the movie, have approached the plaintiff and expressed their anguish. It was only then that the plaintiffs could know of the particulars of the movie.”

The plaintiffs have therefore alleged defamation by defendants and have sought a permanent prohibitory injunction restraining the defendants from exhibiting the movie Varathan. They have also sought a direction to change the name of the family and characters of the family members used in the movie.

The court issued notice and posted the case for Friday this week.

Image courtesy: Dailyhunt

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