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Neolegal shows Dum Maaro Dum not offensive to Goans


Mumbai firm Neolegal Associates has secured the release of the movie Dum Maaro Dum for its clients Twentieth Century Fox and the producer group after the Goa High Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging a wrong depiction of Goa and its culture.

Neolegal Associates’ founding partner Xerxes Ranina was assisted by senior associates Arpit Higgins and Ravina Rajpal in instructing advocate Phiroze Palkhivala for longstanding clients Fox Star Studios and Ramesh Sippy Entertainment.

Fox Star Studios, which is a joint venture between Twentieth Century Fox and STAR in India, had previously also hired Neolegal on similar matters.

Petitioner Savio Rodrigues was represented by two local advocates John Lobo and Winnie Coutinho.

Other PIL respondents including the central and state government ministries were represented by assistant solicitor general C A Ferreira, advocate general S S Kantak and additional govt advocate A Kamat.

A division bench of the Bombay High Court presided over by justice S C Dharmadhikari and justice F M Reis declined to grant an injunction on the film after not having conceded to claims of petitioner.

Rodrigues had, on the basis of the trailer and promotion material of the yet-to-be released movie, contended before the court that the film’s screening would present Goa in a bad light and as a hub of crime, sex and drug mafia.

One Goan women’s rights group and an MP also recently criticised the movie’s apparent depiction of Goan women.

The judgement stated:

After perusing the petition and the affidavit in reply, to which there is no rejoinder, we do not feel that there is any reason to disbelieve the statements made on affidavit which clarify that the entire story is based in Goa and depicts the victory of civil society in its fight against the mafia and, hence, the film cannot be considered to be objectionable. There is a specific statement made therein that the film does not promote use of drugs and sex or harms the image of Goa and any reference to criminal elements is to show the evil elements in bad light and would not affect tourism in Goa.

In the result, going by the settled tests which have to be applied in such cases, we are of the view that no relief can be granted in this petition. Petition is accordingly dismissed.

Needless to state that the apprehension of the State Government that our observations would mean that the State cannot exercise its power in larger public interest after release of the film is not well founded. The petition is based only on the contents of the promos and trailer. The affidavit also clarifies that what is stated to be part of the trailer is not in the least objectionable, but going by the public sentiments, the objectionable sentence and reference has been deleted. All this is with reference to the promo and when the affidavit lists that the film viewed as a whole would not in any manner depict Goa and Goans in negative light acceptance of that stand on affidavit would only mean that this Court is reluctant to interfere at this stage when what is projected and argued is only on the contents of the promos/advertisements and without making any reference to the story or script or contents of the cinematographic film in question.

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