Image Source : INSTAGRAM Maharaj also stars Jaideep Ahlawat in key role

Junaid Khan-starrer Maharaj was scheduled to premiere on June 14 on Netflix but the streaming giant halted its release after the Gujarat High Court stayed its release following a petition by members of a Hindu sect who claimed the film would hurt their religious sentiments. Aamir Khan‘s son Junaid is making his debut with Maharaj. However, the film caught the attention of social media users on Wednesday with hashtags such as “Boycott Netflix” and “Ban Maharaj Film” trending on X (formerly Twitter). On Thursday, Aamir Khan was also trending on the social media platform along with several screenshots of his superhit film, PK.

Responding to a petition by members of Pushtimarg, a Vaishnava sect of Hinduism, the Gujarat High Court stayed the film’s release on Thursday. A single-judge bench of Justice Sangeeta Vishen passed the order against the film and issued notices to the Centre, Netflix and Yash Raj Films. The court has posted the matter for further hearing on June 18.

Directed by Siddharth P Malhotra and produced by Aditya Chopra under YRF Entertainment, the movie also stars Jaideep Ahlawat. Interestingly, unlike a mainstream film launching a star son, there were no trailers or teasers, barring a poster featuring Jaideep and Junaid.

The poster shows the two actors standing side by side with Jaideep’s character sporting a ’tilak’ on his forehead while Junaid’s character, a journalist, is dressed in a waistcoat.

See the post:

Though Netflix and YRF haven’t officially commented on the controversy surrounding the movie, they sent a joint press note to news outlets. “We kindly request you to HOLD on publishing your reviews for the film ‘Maharaj’ online, in print or on any social media platforms, given the ongoing proceedings. Thank you for your support and patience.

Sincerely, Team Netflix and YRF,” the note read.

The petitioners claimed before the Gujarat High Court their religious sentiments would be “seriously hurt” if the movie is permitted to be released, and it is likely to affect public order and incite violence against followers of the sect.

About the film

According to a press release issued by Netflix in May, Maharaj is set in pre-independent India and is based on the Maharaj Libel Case of 1862, which was ignited by “allegations of misconduct by a prominent figure”. It follows Karsandas Mulji, a journalist and social reformer, who was a pioneering advocate for women’s rights and social reform.

”The case garnered widespread attention and scrutiny, setting the stage for what many consider to be one of the most significant legal battles of all time,” the streamer said.

VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi was one of the many X users who called for a ban on the film. “Won’t tolerate the disrespect of Sanatan Dharma (Sanatan Dharma ka apmaan sehen nahin karenge). Ban Maharaj Film. #BoycottNetflix,” Prachi wrote on the microblogging site.

Maharaj also stars Shalini Pandey with Sharvari in a special appearance. The film is part of the multi-year creative partnership between Netflix and Yash Raj Films’ digital arm YRF Entertainment.

(With PTI inputs)

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