Poster for the film Hamare Baarah (Newtech Media Entertainment)

By Shahana Yasmin

The Supreme Court of India has stayed the release of the Bollywood film Hamare Baarah saying the teaser alone contains enough content that is offensive to married Muslim women and their religion.

The top court issued the stay order on Thursday after hearing a challenge to a Bombay High Court decision permitting the film to be released on 15 June.

The counsel for the filmmakers claimed that they had cut all objectionable scenes from the teaser in keeping with the high court’s order. “We saw the teaser today morning and all scenes are there,” the top court replied.

When the counsel said the stay order would result in losses for the filmmakers, the court said, “If teaser is so offensive, then what about the whole movie? Prima facie it seems you have failed since you yourself deleted the scenes from the teaser”.

Hamare Baarah tells the story of Manzoor Ali Khan Sanjari, who, despite losing his first wife during childbirth, continues to have more children with his second wife, now pregnant with her sixth. When doctors warn that the pregnancy risks her life, Khan refuses an abortion,” reads the film’s synopsis on Indian ticketing platform BookMyShow.

“His daughter Alfiya, determined to save her stepmother, takes her father to court to demand an abortion. The film explores whether Alfiya can convince her father and the court and questions the entrenched patriarchy in their society.”

The synopsis echoes the sectarian rhetoric that prime minister Narendra Modi, his Bharatiya Janata Party and the wider Hindu nationalist ecosystem is accused of pushing – that Muslims have far more children than Hindus and, therefore, grab a bigger share of the country’s resources and welfare benefits.

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.