Sacred Games actors cannot be held liable for dialogues, says Delhi HC

Actors cannot be held liable for the dialogues they deliver, the Delhi high court said on Monday while hearing a plea filed against Netflix and the web series of Sacred Games for allegedly defaming former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in an episode.

“Why have you made the actor as a party to the case? Can we stop a viewpoint from being aired? Should we stall such a viewpoint from being aired? Shouldn’t the viewer make up his own point?” the court said.

“It’s already on air. What do we stop?” it asked after Netflix’s lawyer Rajesh Gogna said that eight episodes of the series have already been broadcast and any more unlikely as of now.

The court also asked whether such private litigations can be entertained and said that this will have a larger implication.

“Because there can be sometimes issues where we have seen the effect of social media and what consequences it has,” the bench remarked.

An advocate Nikhil Bhalla had filed a petition seeking directions to ensure the removal of the allegedly offensive scenes and remarks made directly or indirectly against the former prime minister or his family. It alleged that the series incorrectly depicts historical events of the country.

Bhalla’s counsel said that there are two scenes where the English translation of the dialogue has a different derogatory word.

“They have modified some but need to take out these scenes. It’s a scene against a former PM for now, what happens next? Would these be the standards that are aired,” he contended.

The court will now hear the issue on Thursday.

The controversy over Sacred Games started after a Congress activist in West Bengal filed a police complaint against actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Netflix and the makers of Sacred Games for “insulting and abusing” Rajiv Gandhi.

He wrote in his complaint that Siddiqui is heard referring to Gandhi with an abusive word in the web series, and has misrepresented several facts from that period.

“Besides this, the serial has crossed all limits of decency – taking the Indian film industry to a whole new low,” he added.

Sacred Games is based on Vikram Chandra’s 2006 thriller novel of the same name and is produced by Anil Ambani-led Reliance Entertainment’s Phantom Films joint venture.

Siddiqui, Saif Ali Khan and Radhika Apte are in the lead roles and it has been directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane.

Updated: July 16, 2018 — 4:40 pm