Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s petition to Gujarat Court seeking quashing of the proceedings for using shots of a chinkara in his blockbuster film ‘Lagaan’ started today. The Gujarat High Court began hearing on a petition filed six years ago by Aamir Khan on proceedings against them in a Bhuj court. The petition was regarding allegations of killing a chinkara during shooting of Lagaan.
The Assistant conservator of forest, Kutch range, J V Vyas, had filed a complaint against seven members of the ‘Lagaan’ team alleging that during the shooting in Kunaria village of the border district of Kutch, they ‘illegally’ shot a chinkara. This animal disappeared mysteriously after the shooting. Local court issued bailable warrants against Khan, his former wife Reena Dutta, director Ashutosh Gowarikar, executive director Srinivas Rao and cinematographer Ashok Mehta. Aamir Khan and others then secured a stay from the High Court on the warrants.
Justice R D Kothari heard the petition filed by the actor in April 2008. He and four others are facing proceedings in the magistrate’s court in Bhuj for alleged breach of Wildlife (Protection) Act. Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, commercial filming of chinkara without permission is illegal.
The forest department had initially closed the matter after a preliminary inquiry but it reopened it when RTI activist Amit Jethwa filed a fresh complaint. Jethwa was shot dead allegedly by mining mafia in 2010.
Aamir Khan’s lawyer said that it was a computer-generated image of the animal, not the shots of a real animal. A real chinkara was never filmed as the permission for it was denied and the forest department obtained warrants without hearing Khan and others. After hearing the petitioners’ lawyer today, the High Court adjourned the hearing to June 30.
We will keep you updated on any developments on this front.