Plea against Aamir’s Dhobi Ghat film title dismissed

The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a plea against the title of Aamir Khan’s forthcoming film Dhobi Ghat purportedly because it offended the Dalit dhobi (washermen) community, and penalised the petitioner for frivolous lawsuit.

The court rejected the petition, saying that Dhobi Ghat is a geographical description of a place and is not offensive.

The high court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Nisra and Justice Manmohan found no merit in the petition and also imposed a cost of Rs.25,000 on the petitioner and asked him to deposit the amount with the National Blind Relief Association.

Produced by Aamir and directed by his wife Kiran Rao, Dhobi Ghat is about four people who are separated by class and language but are drawn into compelling relationships. Aamir plays a painter in the movie.

Vinod Kumar Kanojia, who heads the Hindustan Kanojia Organisation of dhobis, in his petition claimed that the title of the film may lead to caste division.

He sought from the court change of the film’s title before it was released to theatres. He also requested the censor board to assess the film’s title in order to avoid caste division.

Kanojia stated that the makers of the movie could have opted for some other title, but chose Dhobi Ghat to hurt the feelings of the dhobi community.

He added that the community was a notified Scheduled Caste in the constitution and it is a punishable offence to call any person by its community name. The fundamental right of his community was violated by the film’s title and the court must restrain it.

Dhobi Ghat got an overwhelming response when screened at the recent Toronto International Film festival in Canada.

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