The order by Justice Gautam Patel came after its producer moved the court for its re-release and Amazon Prime also informed that the film was removed. On March 2 the court had directed Amazon Prime to take down the film on a defamation suit filed by Malik against Venkateshwara Creations Pvt Ltd and V Venkata Ramana Reddy aka Dil Raju.
Her petition said the film was released on September 4, 2020, and since then was available on Amazon Prime. In August 2017, Malik had uploaded photographs on her Instagram account and one of these pictures was used in the film in a reference to a “female escort or a commercial sex worker.”
Malik, who was present through videoconference, and her advocates confirmed that the deletion is satisfactory and that prohibition on the re-release of the film can be vacated. Justice Patel also accepted the producers undertaking that they will not further release of the film with her photograph on any platform in any manner whatsoever without her prior written consent.
Justice Patel also asked Malik to take a decision on whether she wants to settle the matter or go ahead with the defamation suit against the producers. Malik’s advocate Alankar Kirpekar submitted while he will confer with his client but “the usage of a woman as an object has to be stopped. “ He urged the court to impose interim costs saying “it will send a strong message.’’ “There should be no more Sakshi Maliks,’’ said Kirpekar.
He said after the film was released the producers were approached but they did not heed to Malik’s request to delete the scene. However after the HC’s order within 24 hours it was deleted. “Coming to court was the last resort. This kind of conduct must be punished with some costs,’’ Kirpekar urged.
Justice Patel came down heavily on the producers. “Does your producer, this gentleman, have ladies (sic) in his family? Why didn’t he use their photographs? That is because he knows the context..Somebody else’s (photograph) he does,’’ said judge. Producer’s advocate Akash Menon said it was under a bona fide belief that the creative agency that sent the photograph had consent. But Justice Patel questioned whether the producer knows about licensing and that stock images are licensed and there is consent attached to it.
Malik recounted the trauma she suffered since September 2020 because of the producers illicit use of her image and how her fiancé’s family found out it was embarrassing. “ It is very difficult to tell you.. Even now I am suffering,’’ she said. Malik said she was getting offers from movies and has lost a lot of work. Justice Patel explained to Malik the ramifications of proceeding with the suit and added that at best he can expedite the trial. He has posted the matter on March 25 specifically to hear arguments on Malik’s prayer for interim costs and also asked her to remain present.