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Defamation suit against 'Mangal Pandey' rejected

By Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) Rejecting the contention of Mangal Pandey's descendent, the Delhi High Court today ruled that the character of the great freedom fighter portrayed in the film ''Mangal Pandey - The Rising'' is not ''defamatory and objectionable''.

Justice A K Sikri, however, directed the producer and director of the film to mention in the film that the character of 'Heera', the prostitute, played by Rani Mukherjee is ''fictional''.

''The character of Heera is fictionalised. There was no such 'Heera' in the life of Mangal Pandey. Mnagal Pandey died a Bachelor,'' should be mentioned in the film at the end to inform the audience about the truth, the court said.

The court said, ''I find no merit in the grievance of the plaintiffs. Thus it is not necessary to go into the preliminary objections raised to the maintainability of the suit. Thus the entire dispute raised in the suit stands decided,'' said the 55-page judgement.

Petitioners Raghunath Pandey and Omkar Nath Pandey (both relatives of Mangal Pandey) had submitted that nobody had the right to distort the history of India and cast aspersion on the personal life of the hero of the First War of Independence.

The High Court had issued notices to Bollywood stars Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee and Producers and Director of 'Mangal Pandey -- The Rising,' for allegedly depicting the freedom fighter having relationship with a prostitute.

The notices were served to producers Bobby Bedi, Deepa Sahi, Director Ketan Mehta, story writer Farrukh Dhondy, distributor Yash Chopra, to file their replies.

Claiming notional damages of Re one from the respondents, petitioners sought directions from the court to ban the screening of the film for allegedly depicting the hero of 1857 rising in a derogatory and disrespectful manner.

Aamir has acted as Mangal Pandey, Rani as 'tawaif' in the film directed by Ketan Mehta and produced by his wife Deepa Sahi and Bobby Bedi.

Chopra's Yash Raj Films was the distributor of the film in India and abroad.

UNI PAT HS HS2003

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