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Supreme Court lifts ban on Jodhaa Akbar, for now

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the lifting of bans on the screening of “Jodhaa Akbar”, a film about the romance between a Mughal emperor and a Hindu princess that had angered the Rajput community.

Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan (L) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan attend the music release function of their new film 'Jodhaa Akbar', in Mumbai January 9, 2008. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe/Files

Several states banned the film on the grounds that its screening would incite violence after Rajputs protested and even attacked movie halls screening it.

The makers of the film moved the Supreme Court, saying the bans were illegal and had led to huge revenue losses.

On Tuesday, the court stayed the bans until March 14 pending disposal of the appeal.

Rajput groups say the film, which tells the story of the love and marriage between Akbar, the 16th century Mughal emperor, and the Hindu princess Jodhaa, was historically inaccurate as she was his daughter-in-law.

Historians debate this matrimony which is said to have led to an alliance between the Rajputs and the Mughals.

The film, starring former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Bollywood hero Hrithik Roshan, runs a disclaimer stating it is not necessarily an accurate reflection of history.

This was just the latest controversy to hit Bollywood, raising criticism India is becoming an increasingly intolerant place for artists.

Last year, effigies of Richard Gere and Bollywood actress and Britain’s “Celebrity Big Brother” winner Shilpa Shetty were burnt after he kissed her on the cheek at a public event.

A court even ordered Gere’s arrest on obscenity charges.