'Face of 2002 riots' sends notice to makers of 'Rajdhani Express'
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"We have sent a legal notice to the producer and principal director of the film for using the photo of my client (Ansari), which was taken during the 2002 riots, in a demeaning way, thus causing mental trauma to him and his family," said advocate Amit Nair, who is representing Ansari in the matter.
Ansari's photograph pleading with security forces with folded hands and teary eyes during the post-Godhra riots had not only gone viral in 2002, but also became the face and symbol of the carnage.
Tired of being projected as the victim of riots, Ansari, who has settled down in his life doing tailoring work, has sought damages worth Rs 25 lakh from the makers of the film.
Film Rajdhani Express, with which tennis star Leander Paes made his debut, is a suspense thriller and was released on January 4 this year.
A legal notice has been sent to producers SLA Impex and Manoj Kejriwal and to the principal director of the film, Ashok Kohli, while giving them two days to reply from the date of receipt of the notice.
"We are also seeking a sum of Rs 25 lakh as damages for their actions and have demanded to publish an apology prominently in two leading newspapers having national circulation," Nair said.
Ansari has also sought to remove the use of the said photograph from the film and/ or any such content directly or indirectly referring him.
"It was shocking to see the appalling manner in which his image is portrayed in the film. The said depiction is further accompanied with slanderous dialogue of one of the lead actors of the film," Nair said.
"Ansari is facing serious social and family problems after the film was released in city theatres earlier this month. This has in fact created a circumstance of fear and danger to his personal safety and security," he said.
After the 2002 riots, Ansari's photo was widely used by NGOs and political parties. It was also used by some terror outfits to show "injustice" meted out to minorities in Gujarat.
Ansari had earlier requested people not to use his picture since it appeared in a threat mail issued by Indian Mujahideen after serial blasts that rocked Ahmedabad in July 2008.
In the notice, Ansari has also alleged that the film makers used his photograph to sensationalise the film and have left a "false and negative image" of his character.