New Delhi: Seeking a stay on criminal proceedings against her and the team of upcoming Malayalam movie Oru Adaar Love, actor Priya Prakash Varrier moved to the Supreme Court on Monday. In a plea submitted before the apex court, her counsel requested the court to list the matter for urgent hearing. The petition is expected to be taken up tomorrow by the bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra.
“The present petition has been filed as a result of multiple criminal proceedings which have been instituted against the petitioners in the States of Telangana and Maharashtra.
“The complaint filed is against the song titled ‘Manikya Malaraya Poovi’ which was released on Youtube as a song of the film. In Telangana, an FIR has already been registered against the Petitioner no.2. (director of the movie).
“The criminal complaints have been instituted by various fringe groups based on a distorted and incorrect interpretation of the song in the states of Telangana, Maharashtra and similar complaints are likely from other non-Malayalam speaking states as well,” she said in her plea filed through advocate Pallavi Pratap.
FIRs have been registered against Varrier and the makers of the Malayalam film in Telangana and Maharashtra for allegedly hurting the sentiments of a community.
The first complaint was registered in Hyderabad by a student against the film’s director, Omar Lulu, alleging that a song from the film showed Prophet Mohammad in poor light. It is being alleged that the lyrics of the song, Manikya Malaraya Poovi, carry derogatory references to the Prophet and his wife.
“The song describes and praises the love between Prophet Mohamed and his first wife Khadeeja. It should be important to note that the song is originally from an old folk song from Kerala which was written in 1978 by PMA Jabbar and first sung by Thalassery Rafeeq, in the praise of the Prophet and his wife Beevi Khadija,” she said.
The plea said the claims that it hurt religious sentiments of the Muslim community are “without any basis and what is hard to fathom is that a song which has been in existence for the past 40 years, which was written, sung and cherished by the Muslim community in Kerala is now being treated as an insult to the Prophet and his wife.”
“It is submitted that a song, which …. has been cherished by more than one crore Muslim population of Kerala, cannot suddenly offend the religious sentiment of the Muslim community,” the plea said.
It stated that criminal complaints and registration of FIRs in multiple states on the basis of complaints by “fringe elements who have misunderstood the lyrics of the song which they claim allegedly offended their religious sentiments and that of their community has adversely affected the petitioners right to life, liberty and freedom of expression under the Constitution.”
Last week, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan defended the song and stated that the complaint against it is “not accidental”, and shows the growing intolerance towards freedom of art and free thought. Intolerance will not be allowed, be it from any quarter, he posted on Facebook.
Varrier’s popularity soared in recent weeks after a clip from her upcoming debut film went viral over the internet. Memes inspired by Varrier have been trending across India on social media. Her popularity had also quickly translated into hundreds and thousands of followers on Instagram.