MUMBAI: A petition challenging the Censor Board’s decision to grant an exhibition certificate to the film Sacred Evil is likely to be heard by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.
The petition filed by lawyer Gerry Coelho contends that granting certificate to the film, which is inspired by the life of a Wiccan, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, was unethical and indecent on the part of the Censor Board and constituted total non-application of mind.
The objections raised by the petitioner are based on the film’s posters and promotional advertisements. Stating that the publicity material of the film gave a distorted picture about the Christian faith, Coelho wrote to the Censor Board on May 15 asking for a preview of the film by members of the Christian community.
The panel of Christians, said Coelho, could point the objectionable scenes, if any, and therefore avoid hurting religious sentiments of the community.
Failing to get a reply from the Censor Board, Coelho moved the HC seeking direction to the Board to act on his complaint.
“The law provides that before clearing films involving sensitive religious themes the Censor Board must seek the opinion of the community concerned,” said lawyer Jamshed Mistry, who is representing the petitioner.
The film, starring Sarika, is a supernatural thriller that revolves around a Kolkata Convent, where a nun is possessed by an evil spirit and a witch is called to exorcise the spirit. Its release, scheduled for May 19, has been postponed.
The promos carrying the tagline—Where there is light, there is shadow—suggest an attempt to show the dual nature of reality. “Such films tend to blur the line between fact and fiction and need to be handled sensitively,” said Coelho.
The petition urges the HC to quash the film’s exhibition certificate and to direct the Censor Board to seek the opinion of the community on the film.
The Catholic Secular Forum has also raised objections against the film posters. The posters show a nun and a cross.
Asking for a preview of the film, the Forum had said that wanted to know in what context such obvious religious symbols were being used.
The controversy over the film follows close to the heels of the protests by Christians against two other films, The Da Vinci Code and Tickle My Funny Bone.