Mumbai/Chennai, Aug 9: Prakash Jha''s controversial Hindi film ''Aarakshan''(Reservation) is set to hit the screens on August 12 as scheduled after both Bombay and Madras High Courts today cleared the decks for its release.
Bombay High Court declined to stay the release of the Amitabh Bachchan-Saif Ali Khan starrer and rejected a petition by two advocates demanding a special screening of the movie before its release.
The petitioners claimed that the film''s theme was anti-reservation and could disturb peace and harmony.
"We are of the view that the petitioner''s prayers for special screening of the movie before its release is totally misconceived and wrong. Hence we are rejecting it. The matter has been postponed for a further hearing on August 22," a division bench of Justices D D Sinha and A R Joshi said.
Advocate Sanghraj Rupwate sought a stay on the release of the movie.
Madras High Court also lifted the interim stay on the civil case involving G G Photo Limited''s Sushil Gupta and Madhu Gupta over the non-payment of dues worth Rs 3.71 crores after the film''s co-producer Firoz Nadiadwala and the Guptas reached an out-of-court settlement.
Reacting to the court orders, Jha said he was expecting a positive response to the film.
"I was expecting it but as a producer you have a sense of distress. I am relieved now. I never expected this kind of protests for the movie. It is unfounded. I do not know who these people are and why they are doing it. Difference of opinion is always welcome but this is something beyond it," Jha told PTI.
The film even before its release faced a spate of protests by several political leaders in Mumbai including state minister Chhagan Bhujbal of NCP and RPI (Athavale) chief Ramdas Athavale, besides the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes over its alleged anti-quota stance. Some Dalit groups have also burnt Jha''s effigy in Punjab.
Jha, on his part, has refuted allegations that the movie is anti or pro-reservation. He said he has tried to balance both the views in the movie. Besides Bachchan and Khan, the film also features Deepika Padukone, Prateik and Manoj Bajpai in key roles. PTI