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YRF’s ‘Maharaj’ doesn’t drop on Netflix after Gujarat HC stays release

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New Delhi, June 15: YRF Entertainment’s “Maharaj” did not premiere on Netflix on Friday as scheduled after the Gujarat High Court stayed its release following a petition by members of a Hindu sect who claimed the film would hurt their religious sentiments.
The film, in which Aamir Khan’s son Junaid Khan makes his debut, is based on an 1862 libel case between a Vaishnavite religious leader and a journalist, Karsandas Mulji, who alleged in an article in a Gujarati weekly that the godman had sexual liaisons with his women devotees.
“Maharaj” caught the attention of social media users on Wednesday with hashtags such as “Boycott Netflix” and “Ban Maharaj Film” trending on X. On Thursday, Aamir Khan was also trending on the social media platform.
Responding to a petition by members of Pushtimarg, a Vaishnav sect of Hinduism, the Gujarat High Court stayed the film’s release on Thursday. A single-judge bench of Justice Sangeeta Vishen passed the order against the film and issued notices to the Centre, Netflix and Yash Raj Films. The court has posted the matter for further hearing on June 18.
YRF and Netflix are challenging the stay order, said a trade insider.
“The matter is in court. Maharaj is based on a real-life case. It is adapted from Saurabh Shah’s book titled ‘Maharaj’. The author has also come out to say that the film does not vilify the Vaishnav community or the religion.
“It is about a social reformer who brought about a positive change in society. The makers are hopeful for a positive outcome on this,” the trade source said.
Shah, the author of the 2016 book, said in a post on X that people should form an opinion only after watching the film.
“This film is neither against Sanatan nor Vaishnav sect. Me and my family are part of the Vaishnav community with full devotion. The book written by me and the film made by @yrf are both in favour of the Vaishnav community… ‘Maharaj’ is a story that Hindus should be proud of,” he added on Thursday.
Directed by Siddharth P Malhotra and produced by Aditya Chopra under YRF Entertainment, the movie also stars Jaideep Ahlawat.
And most unlike a mainstream film launching a star son, there were no trailers or teasers, barring a poster featuring Jaideep and Junaid.
The poster shows the two actors side by side with Jaideep’s character sporting a ’tilak’ on his forehead while Junaid’s character is dressed in a waistcoat. According to a press release issued by Netflix last month, “Maharaj” follows the  “allegations of misconduct by a prominent figure” and journalist and social reformer Mulji, who was a pioneering advocate for women’s rights and social reform.  (PTI)

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