Actor-comedian Vir Das on Wednesday thanked the Delhi High Court for refusing to grant an interim stay on airing his Netflix show Hasmukh and dismissing a plea claiming that series maligned the reputation of lawyers.
On Tuesday, the Delhi HC said granting a stay order would interfere with the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution.
Das shared a statement on Twitter, saying that there as many as 10 “legal notices, groups organising to down-rate” the show and a suit alleging damage to the reputation of lawyers.
“…Fair game. As artists we are taught to accept feedback humbly, and I do so knowing that my work always has, and will polarise people. But if we can accept that these actions go a little beyond feedback, I hope I’ve earned the right to respectfully respond (sic),” the 40-year-old actor said in the statement.
A statement of thanks to the High Court. For this judgement. For my art-form. pic.twitter.com/jXy6TVYpmW
— Vir Das (@thevirdas) May 6, 2020
“I have spent a decade of my life trying to make this country laugh. I certainly haven’t always succeeded, but I have heard enough laughter and seen enough happy people to know that comedy, of all genres, does more good than harm. Offence is taken, not given. Humbly thank the High Court for their support (sic),” he added.
The actor also included the observations made by the court during the hearing in his statement.
“‘The very essence of democracy is that a creative artist is given the liberty to project the picture of the society in a manner he perceives. One of the prime forms of exposing the ills of the society is by portraying a satirical picture of the same (sic),” the statement reads further.
“‘Stand-up comedians perform that very purpose. In their portrayal they use satire and exaggerate the ills to an extent that it becomes a ridicule. In the humorous portrayal of the ills of the society the stand-up comedians use satire. – Delhi High Court.’ Thank you. With respect, Vir (sic),” he added.
The application for interim stay was moved by advocate Ashutosh Dubey in his main suit seeking a permanent injunction on the airing of the show, especially episode four, saying it maligns the image and reputation of lawyers everywhere.
During the hearing, the court noted that the protagonist spoke the dialogues in question while performing as a stand-up comedian and the comments were based on his experience with a dishonest lawyer.
The main petition seeking a permanent injunction on the airing of the show is pending and listed for hearing in July.
Hasmukh features Das in the titular role of a young man from Saharanpur, who has to kill people off stage to perform better on stage. The series premiered on Netflix on April 17.
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