A film based on the life of a 1962 Sino-Indian war hero was released on Friday after the Delhi High Court gave its green light to it by saying the man’s family members could not claim breach of their privacy as they had consented to the making of the film in 2015.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru said there were “no reasons to interdict the release” of the film — ’72 Hours – Martyr who never died’ — based on the life of Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, who was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for gallantry during the 1962 war.
Rawat’s family members had moved the court against the release of the film, claiming that it had invaded their and Rawat’s privacy.
Besides, they had also sought royalty from Sandhya Entertainment, the producer of the film, and demanded that the actor playing Rawat’s role be changed.
The production house told the court that the family’s consent was taken in 2015 and the film was made on the basis of the information given by them.
It told the court that the family had also consented to actor Awinash Dhyani portraying the role of Rawat.
During the proceedings, the court had also asked the central government’s standing counsel, Kirtiman Singh, to watch the movie and inform it if there was anything objectionable in it.
After watching the film, Singh told the court there was no content in it that was defamatory or derogatory to Rawat and his family.
Taking note of all the submissions, the court said it “finds no reason to interdict the release of the said movie”.
“It is also apparent that the controversy as to whether the petitioner (Rawat’s brother) is entitled to any royalty or the terms on which consent was granted for making the said film involves several disputed questions of fact and it would not be apposite to examine the same in these proceedings.
“Plainly, if the petitioner and his family had consented to the making of the said film, he cannot be heard to complain against loss of privacy. In view of the above, the petition is disposed of with the liberty to the petitioner to institute an appropriate action if so advised,” the court said.
Earlier, a PIL was filed by Rawat’s family to remove the actor playing the rifleman’s role in the film on the ground that he was allegedly an accused in a rape case.
According to the earlier petition, Rawat was a rifleman in the 4 Garhwal Rifles unit of the Army and had single-handedly prevented the Chinese army for three days from over-running his post during the 1962 Sino-Indian war, before he was killed on November 17, 1962.
For his gallantry, he was still being honoured with promotions, the most recent one being of a Major General, it had said.
It had also said the post which Rawat had defended against the Chinese Army was now named as Jaswant Garh and there was a room nearby where his personal belongings were still kept safe.