Kaminey Controversy Arrives in High Court

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Director Vishal Bharadwaj probably didn’t think twice about some incidental graffiti on the Kaminey set, except perhaps as a backdrop to stars Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. However, some devotees to the Hindu god Jagannath managed to look away from the thrilling action long enough to see him mentioned “in bad taste” in that graffiti – he was just below a picture of a woman in provocative dress. Now, The Telegraph reports that the movie is enmeshed in a swirl of legal troubles, as the religious group Jagannath Sena Sangathan has filed an FIR against Kaminey’s producers, director, and UTV as well. Also, Dilip Das, a member of Neelachakra (a religious group named after the metal wheel on the top of Jagannath Temple), filed a PIL against the film itself. The case has reached Orissa’s High Court, which will decide whether to order the scene to be deleted from the film per Das’ request.

In addition to the legal issues, Kaminey has garnered quite a bit of bad publicity due to protests from sevayats of Jagannath Temple. Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati called for the film’s banishment when it released last month, as well as an abject apology from its creators. In response to his inflammatory remarks and public incitement to protest, followers gathered to burn promotional photos and posters for Kaminey.
All this, despite the fact that the objectionable scene was already expunged from the film (for the reels distributed in Orissa) before it ever opened!

In any case, the controversy hasn’t hurt Kaminey’s collections; the movie’s managed to bag 43 crores at the Indian box-office, plus over a million dollars in the U.S. and over 250,000 pounds in the U.K. It’s a success by any measure, and slowly making its way to hit status.

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