Mumbai: The Censor Board today told the Bombay High Court that the movie ‘Rahasya’ is based on fiction and bears no resemblance to the case of dentist couple Nupur and Rajesh Talwar who were convicted for the murder of their teenage daughter Aarushi and the domestic help in 2008.
“The film ‘Rahasya’ is a work of fiction. The film has a disclaimer in the beginning that it is based on fiction and bears no resemblance to any person dead or alive,” the affidavit filed by Sheetal Tandel, Assistant Regional Officer of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Mumbai, said.
The affidavit was filed in response to a petition by Nupur and Rajesh Talwar, now serving life sentence awarded to them for Aarushi’s murder, seeking a stay on the release of ‘Rahasya’ directed by Manish Gupta.
The Talwars in their petition claimed the movie is based on “distorted facts surrounding the gruesome death” of Aarushi.
The Talwars approached the High Court after the Central Board of Film Certification granted U/A certificate to the movie in January this year.
The CBFC, however, said there are several differences between the Aarushi case and the movie. “In the movie, an 18- year-old Mumbai-based girl gets murdered. The father of the girl is arrested but released on bail and then acquitted. Soon after that, he too gets murdered. This is hardly the case with Dr Rajesh Talwar who is still very much alive and in detention,” the affidavit said.
It further claims the victim girl and her parents in the movie bear no resemblance in name or appearance with Aarushi and her parents Nupur and Rajesh.
Senior counsel Birendra Saraf, appearing for the Talwars, today told the High Court that if as per the CBFC affidavit the movie is not based on the Aarushi case, then the Talwars do not have any problem. “We would still request the producers of the movie to arrange a private screening of the film for at least one member of the family,” Saraf said.
Advocate Atul Damle, appearing for Gupta and producer UVI Films Production Ltd, sought time till March 10 to seek instructions on whether a private screening can be arranged.
On the intervening night of May 15 and 16, 2008, Aarushi and their house help Hemraj were found murdered at the Talwars’ residence in Noida.
The Talwars were convicted by a sessions court in Ghaziabad in November last and sentenced to life imprisonment. Their appeal against their conviction is pending before the Allahabad High Court.
According to the Talwars, the movie would ridicule and create an atmosphere against them in public mind. “It would paint the petitioners in the wrong light and would be defamatory,” the petition said.
Soon after their conviction, the Talwars came across interviews by Gupta and some actors saying a movie is being made based on the Aarushi murder case. “The petitioners’ lawyer made a public statement in December 2013 that no movie or book shall be made on the case. However, in January, the couple (Talwars) came to know that the CBFC has granted
certificate to the movie,” the petition said.
On February 17, the Talwars sent a legal notice to Gupta and UVI Films Production Ltd seeking a private screening of the movie but did not get any response, following which they petitioned the High Court.
“It is apparent that the movie is based on a distortion of facts surrounding the gruesome murder of their daughter Aarushi and portrays the petitioners and their daughter in a bad light and castes slur on their reputation,” the petition said.
Seeking a stay on the release and telecast of the film and for the certification to be quashed, the Talwars said the whole case is subjudice as their appeal is pending with the High Court.
According to the petition, the Talwars have not been approached by the director or the producer of the movie to seek prior consent.