A case against "Guzaarish" has been dismissed as "frivolous" and producer Ronnie Screwvala says he is not afraid of more "loose" PIL (public interest litigation). He describes the Hrithik Roshan-Aishwarya Rai film as a "love story" with the controversial issue of euthanasia as part of its narrative.
"PILs are loose too, for people with hidden agendas. The film is a love story of a man and his life and, yes, euthanasia is part of the narrative," Screwvala told IANS in an email interview.
"We have been true to our story and while we cannot stop people in a democracy to file wasteful PILs, we see no issue at all. Relevant is that the first PIL was dismissed by the court as frivolous."
A lawyer, Aditya Dewan, has filed PIL in Delhi High Court alleging that "Guzaarish" promotes euthanasia or mercy killing, which is illegal, and portrays the legal profession in bad light. He demanded a disclaimer from the producers saying mercy killing is not legal in India and there is a debate on whether such deaths can be allowed.
But the case was dismissed by the court saying the facts averred in were inadequate for the court to appreciate...and that it cannot be entertained in its present form.
In the past, UTV Motion Pictures made meaningful movies like "Khosla ka Ghosla" and "A Wednesday" as well as commercially viable box office hits such as "Rang De Basanti" and "Raajneeti". It also produced Ashutosh Gowariker's magnum opus "Jodhaa Akbar".
But Screwvala, who doesn't like calling his production ventures "meaningful", says his banner invests in movies on the basis of scripts and the director's vision. And even for director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Guzaarish", they did the same.
"Let's be clear - we do not make 'meaningful' cinema as we don't know what that means. We make movies with strong narratives, strong genres backed by a solid script and a clear-cut director's vision and all this to be a commercially successful movie.
Ready to hit the screens Nov 19, "Guzaarish" stars Aishwarya as a nurse and Hrithik as a paraplegic patient. This is their third outing together after "Dhoom 2" and "Jodhaa Akbar".
So does the film carry any message?
"All narratives - whether you read a book, hear a story, see a movie or hear someone's life story over coffee - have messages; otherwise it's 'time pass'. So, no, there is no 'meaningful' message, but there is a strong narrative."
The film's promos are out and some feel it is similar in look and feel to Bhansali's "Saawariya". But Screwvala doesn't think so.
"We have not got this feedback at all - there may be some diehard people who call themselves 'trade pundits' and those opinions are not relevant to us. I would say the visual treatment of the movie is what everyone loves and comes to see a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie for.
"I think if his near perfection visual treatment, eye for detail -- that takes you into a real and different world -- is there in all the movies; why single out 'Saawariya ' - except to be non-constructive?"
Asked about the movie's USP, he said: "Hrithik and Aishwarya as brilliant actors and their on-screen presence and chemistry (and chemistry does not always have to result in a kiss); visual experience of the world of Ethan...".
"It's a short two-hour film packed with love, drama, relationships; fight for what is right and for what we believe and, above all, a story well told, which is finally why we all go to the movies except on X-Mas, Diwali or after cricket on TV - we go just on those days for 'time pass'."
"So for all who only want 'time pass', don't watch this movie and for all others it's a must see," he said.