The Telegraph
Friday , October 19 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chakravyuh court duel in city

Calcutta, Oct. 18: A legal battle over a Chakravyuh song today reached Calcutta with Basant Kumar Birla moving the high court seeking removal of the number that apparently takes digs at one of the country’s oldest business families.

The petition will be heard tomorrow, five days before the October 24 release of Prakash Jha’s movie on Maoists. The cast includes Abhay Deol, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpai, Esha Gupta, Anjali Patil, Om Puri and others.

Basant Kumar, the city-based Birla patriarch, has contended in his plea that the Mehengai (price rise) song denigrates the image of his family.

The track — available on YouTube — also has references to other prominent business clans such as the Tatas, Ambanis and Bata.

Earlier, the Birlas had sent Jha a legal notice on October 7, followed by a case in Delhi High Court.

Bata moved the same court over a week later, prompting a single-judge bench to issue an interim order asking Jha — the director and co-producer — to remove the reference. But today, a two-judge bench stayed the order.

It was not clear whether the Delhi verdict had prompted the Birlas’ move in Calcutta but family sources said they were determined to get the song removed.

“This song includes derogatory remarks about the Birla family and the song has to be removed,” said Basant Kumar’s lawyer. Justice I.P. Mukerji, who heard the matter, allowed the director and the producer to release the song after giving an undertaking that the reference to the industrialists was not intended to malign them.

But the Birlas appealed within hours before a division bench of acting Chief Justice K.J Sengupta, who said he would ask another division bench to hear the matter tomorrow, the last working day before the Puja vacation.

Late this evening, the Tatas said they had filed a suit in Delhi High Court alleging the reference to them was “defamatory”. “We have filed the suit because the use of the word Tata in the song is defamatory. As owners of the Tata name and brand, Tata Sons is aggrieved by the defamation,” a Tata Sons spokesperson said in a statement. The court posted the matter for November 8 and asked the defendants to file their replies by then, the Tata statement added.