The Supreme Court denied the makers of the Telugu film, Lakshmi’s NTR, an urgent listing challenging the high court stay order on the film. The bench, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, told the lawyers of the production house that the court will take up the hearing in ‘due course’.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court on 28 March had ordered a stay on the biopic on the life of the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister, NT Rama Rao and his wife, Lakshmi.
The producers of the film, Rakesh Reddy, had appealed to the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing on the High Court decision.
The film was initially scheduled to be released on 29 March, but was postponed on account of the stay by the high court.
Members of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had filed a petition in the Andhra Pradesh high court seeking a stay on the film. The petitioners argued that the film’s content would be derogatory towards the party. The petitioners also pointed out to Ram Gopal Varma’s Twitter handle which had conducted a poll asking if the film would affect the TDP’s electoral chances, as an example of the film influencing voters in the upcoming general elections.
The high court bench of Justices AV Sesha Sai and U Durga Prasad Rao directed the counsel to hold a special screening of the film on 3 April, ‘for a better appreciation of the contents’, according to Livelaw.com.
However, the makers of the film decided to approach the Supreme Court questioning the high court’s jurisdiction in ‘holding film screenings or previews’. The production house claimed that the film had a clearance from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), and that the film had been produced without political patronage.
However, the request by the production house’s counsel for an urgent listing of the petition was declined. The petitioners will likely have to hold a screening on 3 April for the high court to lift the stay.