Filmmaker Sanoj Mishra on Friday denied that his upcoming Hindi film Shashank was based on the life of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, in response to the actor’s father’s plea at the Delhi High Court on seeking ban on the film, ANI reported.
According to Mishra, the story of Shashank portrays the struggle of an “outsider” in the Hindi film industry through the lens of four young boys. He cited the example of his own struggle as an “outsider” in Hindi film industry and said that Rajput was not the only person who struggled in Mumbai. He pointed out that several films have been made based on the lives of artists, which have been well-received by the audience.
Earlier this week, Rajput’s father moved the Delhi High Court seeking a ban on the release of any film based on the late actor’s life.
Based on his plea, a single-judge bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri issued a notice on Tuesday to restrain the defendants from using or advertising or making references, in any manner, to Rajput’s name, caricature, lifestyle, likeness in their upcoming ventures.
The petition was filed based upon reports about films titled Nyay: The Justice, Suicide, Murder: A Star Was Lost, and Shashank.
Rajput’s father alleged breach of right to privacy and “passing off” in context to the recent news articles stating that films depicting the actor’s personal life, name, images, caricature, lifestyle, likeness in form of biopic or story as it was a direct infringement of his “personality rights”. The petition argued that “any such publication, production, or depiction of the private life of the late actor is a blatant and wilful breach of the fundamental right to privacy which includes right to publicity”. The plea stated that the same cannot be commenced without his prior approval as he was Rajput’s legal heir.
Mishra announced the film in July 2020, soon after Rajput’s demise. He had said that the shooting would begin in December 2020 and release in March 2021.
Rajput died by suicide on June 14, 2020, in Mumbai, sparking several controversies, and a trial by media speculating the cause of his death, alleged mental health issues and nepotism in the Hindi film industry. Rajput’s death initiated a massive ongoing drug probe, which is being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Posting the first poster of the film on Instagram, Mishra wrote: “Exposing film mafias is also patriotism, there should be a boycott of traitors, traitors of society, filmmakers and stars, so that no one is killed again and no one is forced to commit suicide. Shooting will start from December 26. The film will be released in March 2021 which is based on the true events of Bollywood.”
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Since the announcement of Shashank, the film has been courting controversies. According to one of Mishra’s Instgram post where he shared a snippet of a newspaper, Rajput’s sister Shweta Singh Kirti had called for a boycott of the film.
“Understanding my responsibility as a filmmaker, I have worked on topical topics. Hurt by the incident of late Sushant Singh Rajput, I made up my mind to make a film from Patna when I went to meet his family. I tried to introduce the newcomers to the film industry and the atmosphere here, which I have seen and understood in the last 25 years. But in the last few days, the poster release of the film has created a misunderstanding among the people. I have to think that I should work on such topics or make money by making sexy movies like everyone else,” Mishra wrote on Instagram.
The court has sought response from all the filmmakers of the mentioned films and has scheduled the hearing for May 25.