By Arré Bench Oct. 13, 2020
A collection of 34 producers and four industry bodies have filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against “irresponsible reporting” by Republic TV & Times Now. But many questions have been raised about the authenticity of the suit. Some believe that this is a token gesture, and not backed by any real will.
After TV news channels ran a malicious media trial against the Hindi film industry for months, the tables have turned. Now, Bollywood’s filmmakers and production houses are responding with a legal trial of their own. A collection of 34 producers, including the Producers Guild of India, and four industry bodies have filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against the “irresponsible reporting” of these news channels. Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari, and Times Now’s Navika Kumar and Rahul Shivshankar are named as the defendants in the case.
Hindi film producers and unions get together to sue irresponsible news channels. A much needed move. https://t.co/yvo1zulpIr
— Raja Sen (@RajaSen) October 12, 2020
After actor Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide, these two channels were at the forefront of the campaign to vilify Bollywood as having played some part in his death. After Rajput’s involvement with drugs came to light during the investigation, the channels used expressions like “all the perfumes of Arabia cannot take away the stench and the stink of this filth and scum of the underbelly of Bollywood” and referred to the industry with terms like “dirt” and “druggies”.
The suit says this comes in the wake of these channels using highly derogatory words and expressions for Bollywood such as ‘dirt,’ ‘filth,’ ‘scum,’ ‘druggies’. The suit asks HC to pass directions asking channels to refrain from carrying out a #mediatrial https://t.co/4FLCJA37PR
— Sanyukta (@dramadhikari) October 12, 2020
“Bollywood is unique and stands on a different footing from any other industry inasmuch as it is an industry that is dependent almost solely on goodwill, appreciation and acceptance of its audience. The livelihood of persons associated with Bollywood is being severely impacted by the smear campaign being run by the defendants,” the lawsuit stated.
The suit asks the news channel to ABIDE by the provisions of the Programme Code and to withdraw, RECALL and take down all the DEFAMATORY content published by them against Bollywood. @navikakumar @pradip103 @RShivshankar #ArnabGoswami #SSRcase #DishaSalian
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) October 12, 2020
While this show of unity from the major players in Bollywood is unprecedented, there is an accompanying attitude of scepticism from some observers. Some believe that this is a token gesture, and not backed by any real will. They note that the case is filed in Delhi High Court, not Bombay High Court, where most of those involved are based.
This “Bollywood lawsuit” against Times Now is a pure eyewash.
The industry is based out of Mumbai & so are Times Now/Republic. Why was the suit filed in Delhi HC?
Also, are we to really believe that Bollywood doesn’t have the clout to sit across a table & confront Vineet Jain?
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) October 12, 2020
Others have questioned if filing a case against a channel like Times Now will lead to the industry’s top stars also refraining from dealing with its parent company, The Times Group, which also owns Filmfare magazine and hosts the Filmfare Awards.
👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽 how many stars/studios are gonna pull out of Medianet, say no to Filmfare covers, drop Femina/Zoom/Radio Mirchi interviews and appearances at award shows, a time when Times is acutely desperate for their presence? Hit them where it hurts. Then we’ll talk. https://t.co/3uZibAxrtu
— Ankur Pathak (@aktalkies) October 12, 2020
Can it be that India’s rampant news anchors might be made to face the consequences of their actions? Or will this be forgotten like yesterday’s news?