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DSK’s Desai defends Aamir Khan’s ‘vulgar’ Delhi Belly

Delhi Belly: Vulgar or just covered in dirty dust?
Delhi Belly: Vulgar or just covered in dirty dust?
Exclusive: DSK Legal managing partner Anand Desai is defending Aamir Khan’s latest box office bonanza Delhi Belly against a raft of obscenity claims, of which only one has so far been served on the producer.

Mumbai-based Desai, who is listed in the end credits to the film, said that Khan had been “off and on a fairly large client”, having advised on most of his films and disputes for around 20 years. He has also acted for other Bollywood stars, he added, many of whom were initially referred to him through chartered accountants.

The basic allegation in each of the Delhi Belly cases was vulgarity, according to Desai. “There is one civil case in Jabalpur [High Court in Madhya Pradesh] and we believe there are also some criminal cases in Jodhpur, Bhopal and somewhere else. But we have not yet been served, it is only from press reports that we are reading these things.”

Desai said that the law was clear, as established in the 1996 Supreme Court Bandit Queen case (Bobby Art International, Etc vs Om Pal Singh Hoon & Ors).

The Bandit Queen bench had decided, said Desai, that despite containing frontal nudity and foul language the Supreme Court decided that where the censor board had decided on a rating and passed a film, the courts should not interfere.

Desai added that on the flipside there was a judgment of Krishna Iyer in the Supreme Court (Raj Kapoor And Ors vs State And Others 1979), where it was held that the court could not lose jurisdiction merely because the censor board had made a decision.

Desai noted that there were several problems: “There has been some physical violence in theatres, which is a law and order situation.

Anand Desai: Mumbaikar gets Delhi Belly
Anand Desai: Mumbaikar gets Delhi Belly

“The second part is that people feel and there is a general perception, which I may not accept, that while such language and behaviour may be common in metros, it may not be as common or acceptable in less urban parts of the country. That seems to be one view I am getting from people and that becomes a bit of a challenge.

“There is a film called Kama Sutra from 1997 or 98, where I had appeared for the producer against the censor board. They ultimately gave a certificate for the English language but not the Hindi dubbed version of the film. In the regional languages they wanted to give extra cuts.”

He explained that he argued that if a man sees a film in English it does not make him more mature but the cuts had remained.

In the case of Delhi Belly, which was granted an adult certificate by the censor without any cuts, Desai said that they would also argue most reviews of the film had been positive and had stated that it was taking Indian cinema to the “next level”.

“This is a comedy,” he said.

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