The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the union government to take a final decision on the release of Mohanlal-starrer Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham after considering the complaint raised against the film, The New Indian Express reported.
The direction came in response to a plea filed by a descendant of Kunjali Marakkar, on whom the film is based, alleging that Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham is a distortion of history and hence its release should be restrained.
Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, written and directed by Priyadarshan, is set in the 16 century and narrates the story of Kunjali Marakkar, the fourth and the last of the Malayali naval leaders deployed by the Samoothiri of Calicut to fight in the war against the Portuguese in the 16th century.
The film is produced by Antony Perambavoor under the Aashirvad Cinemas banner on a budget of Rs 100 crore. It won awards for best feature film, best special effects and best costume design at the 67th National Film Awards.
According to a Live Law report, petitioner Mufeeda Arafath Marakkar alleges that the teaser of the film has portrayed distorted and fabricated versions of the life and time of Kunjali Marakkar and the attempt has defamed the members of his family.
“This would also incite communal hatred which poses an imminent threat to law and order,” the petitioner said, adding that the government or the district collector has the authority to suspend the release of the film on the ground that it is likely to provoke a breach of peace.
The petitioner further noted that an expert committee should view the film and only then should it be allowed to release in theatres. Alleging that the Central Board of Film Certification has given a U/A certificate for the film without application of mind and without verifying whether the film has depicted the true story of Marakkar, the petitioner added, “The history of Kunjali Marakkar is a component of the school curriculum and if this version is exhibited it would have a serious impact on the minds of the children in their formative years.”
The petitioner’s counsel noted that though the plea was filed in February 2020, the state has not taken any decision on this so far.
On the other hand, the CBFC informed the petitioner that the complaint has been rerouted to the concerned ministry. The CBFC also added that the union government has no role or right to interfere in the matter.
However, Justice PV Kunhikrishnan has now directed the union government to decide on the film’s release within four weeks.
Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham was earlier scheduled to release on August 12, but was postponed since theatres in Kerala have not been allowed to reopen yet. A new release date has not been announced. Meanwhile, the makers have signed a deal with film exhibitors for an exclusive three-week theatre run.