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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
New twist in India film row
Manisha Koirala
Manisha Koirala: Court wants explanation
The case of the controversial Indian film, Ek Chhoti Si Love Story (A Small Love Story), has taken another twist after the High Court in Bombay issued notices to its lead actress and producer.

Actress Manisha Koirala and producer Shahilal Nair have been asked to give reasons why contempt of court proceedings should not be issued against them.

The court wants them to explain why they involved the leader of the right-wing Hindu Shiv Sena party in their dispute over allegedly steamy scenes in the film, when proceedings were pending in court.

Manisha Koirala took legal action to prevent the release of Ek Chhoti Si Love Story because she says it contains scantily-clad shots of her body double taken without her consent.

The film opened in cinemas across the country last week, despite court orders postponing its screening.

Cinema owners said they had not received any instructions from the court.

Conduct criticised

Shiv Sena protesting.
Shiv Sena stopped screenings in Bombay
Delivering their ruling on Friday, Justices RM Lodha and Dilip Bhosale said they were concerned about media reports that Ms Koirala and her producer had made separate approaches to Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray while the court was still considering action.

Shortly after Ms Koirala met the Shiv Sena leader, some members of his party went to cinemas showing the film in Bombay and forcibly stopped its screening.

This intervention by Shiv Sena led to Mr Nair also approaching Mr Thakeray to arrange for him to see a special screening, reports say.

The court said it took strong objection to the conduct of both Ms Koirala and Mr Nair.

Judicial orders could be enforced only through proper legal processes, and should not be taken to a third party, the judges said.

Deal denied

Ms Koirala obtained an order from the court last week staying the screening of the film for a month.

She wants the allegedly obscene shots of her body double removed and says she had an agreement with Mr Nair that any scenes would be deleted if she did not approve.

However, Mr Nair has denied giving any such assurance to Ms Koirala and insists there is nothing vulgar about his film.

Court proceedings will resume in Bombay on 5 October.

See also:

06 Sep 02 | South Asia
05 Sep 02 | South Asia
17 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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