The controversial Hamare Baarah will finally see release this week. A bench of Justices B.P. Colabawala and Firdosh Pooniwalla of the Bombay high court cleared the film yesterday (June 19), paving the way for its release on June 21.

The court said, it had viewed the film after deletions and found nothing objectionable in it. It remarked that the film did not have anything which was against the teachings of the Quran or even against the Muslim community. Rather, the film spoke of the upliftment of women, it added. The court also said that the Indian public was neither naive nor foolish to misunderstand the film’s content. It explained that the film was of the kind which would prompt people to apply their minds rather than view it after keeping their brains at home.

In particular, the court said that in the film, a maulana wrongly explains the teachings of Quran against which a Muslim person raises objections and asks the people of his community to use their brains and not have blind faith in such maulanas.

While saying that the film’s first trailer was objectionable, the court reminded that that trailer had been pulled down and certain objectionable scenes in the film had been deleted.

A number of petitions against Hamare Baarah had been admitted in the Bombay high court a few weeks back. The petitions sought a ban on the film starring Annu Kapoor, saying that it was insulting of the Muslim community and misrepresented the teachings of the holy Quran. The HC at first stayed the film’s release but lifted the stay order when the producers said that objectionable scenes would be deleted under instructions of the Central Board of Film Certification. Following this, the petitioners moved the Supreme Court. The apex court stayed the film’s release last week and asked the Bombay high court to hear the matter and pass orders.

After viewing the film post-deletions, the court saw the film and did not find anything in it which could incite violence or communal disharmony. It said that if certain objectionable scenes could be altered, it would grant permission today (June 19) for the film’s release. The producers agreed to make the alterations.

The court also said, the producers of the film would have to pay a penalty for releasing the film’s trailer without getting the same certified by the CBFC. It opined that the producers could donate the penalty amount to a charity of the petitioners’ choice. While agreeing that the trailer and poster of the film were objectionable, the court warned the producers to not take undue advantage of their right to freedom of expression by adding scenes and dialogues which could hurt the sentiments of Muslims. It referred to a scene in which a Muslim father threatens to kill his daughter and then makes a reference to God. This, the court remarked, could send wrong signals to the public. It added that deletion of this scene/dialogue would not adversely affect the creative freedom of the film’s makers.

The court also expressed shock that the petitioners were speaking against the film without even watching it.

Hamare Baarah was scheduled for release on June 7. The date got changed to June 14 after the Bombay high court’s stay order. It could not hit the screens on June 14 also as the SC stayed its release. It will now finally make it to the cinemas on June 21.