Film On Nuns: High Court Asks Government For Action
By Jessy Joseph
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on May 17 asked the federal government to take quick action on a Catholic nun’s petition to stop the release of a “blasphemous” Malayalam film on priests and nuns.
Sacred Heart Sister Jessy Mani, a New Delhi-based psychologist, approached the Delhi court on May 11 against “Aquarium,” which was set to air on an OTT (Over The Top) platform on May 14.
On May 12, the Kerala High Court had stayed the film’s release for two weeks and the Delhi High Court “duly accepted the decision of the Kerala Court,” Jose Abraham, a lawyer appearing for Sister Mani, told Matters India on May 17.
The Kerala court acted on a similar petition filed by Sisters Josia and Mary KG.
“The Delhi court wants the union of India to expedite the process and take necessary action on the petition soon,” Abraham said.
The court order is a “way forward for a complete ban of the movie and we are happy with the court order,” Sister Mani told Matters India.
According to Sister Mani, the film is “blasphemous” as it allegedly “depicts the sexual relationship of nuns with two priests” and “an emotional relationship with Jesus Christ.”
The film stars Malayalam film actors Sunny Wayne, Honey Rose and Rajshri Ponnappa in lead roles.
The petition also points out that in the movie, Catholic priests and nuns leading religious life are portrayed merely as sex toys. It has “scenes of sexual relationships among same-sex, between priests and nuns and sex with animals, in a highly derogatory manner, thereby clearly tarnishing the reputation of the Catholic Church and its members, which in turn would demoralize the members who joined in the priestly order and nunship,” the petition claims.
The film also has conversations between the characters that negative portray Christians. They also misquote the Song of Songs from the Old Testament of the Bible for depicting Jesus Christ as a romantic God. This, the petition asserted, amounted to “commit blasphemy” and hurt the Christians’ religious feelings.
According to the petitioner, the movie was completed in 2012-2013 and was originally named “Pithavinum Puthranum Parisudhathmavinum” (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit)
Later the word Parisudhathmavinum was deleted by the producers and when they applied for certificate from the censor board, the same was denied as the content of the film was likely to hurt the religious sentiments of the Christian community, Sister Mani has also claimed.
The producers now plan to release the movie on an OTT platform, an audio and video hosting and streaming service, as these are not subject to any regulation presently, the nun’s petition pointed out.
The petition has urged the court to either stop release of the film or defer the same till the issue raised by the petitioner is decided.
In 2013, the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) refused public exhibition of the film when its producers applied for the certificate. The board found the film’s content “was likely to hurt the religious sentiments of the Christian community.” It also said the obscenity and the contents maligned the Catholic community.
The board also rejected the film’s clearance even after the director approached the review committee.
“Therefore, the producers of the film dropped the movie exhibition attempts in 2015 itself,” the nun told the court.
The producers now plan to release it on the OTT platform “Saina Play” for free, according to the trailer of the film available in YouTube.
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