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HC says no to shooting films in Thirumalai Naicker Mahal at Madurai

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The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court (HC) today ordered an interim stay on shooting of films at the historic Thirumalai Naicker Mahal in the city.

A division bench comprising Justice P Jyothimani and Justice M M Sundresh issued the ruling on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a city-based advocate A S M Muthukumar seeking the court's direction to ban shooting of films inside the Mahal, a residential palace built by King Thirumalai Nayak of Nayak dynasty in 1636 AD.

The petitioner contended that the Mahal, a heritage monument under the control of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), was a classic example of the Indo-Saracenic style having 248 giant pillars, each 58 feet tall and five feet in diameter.

The palace is a blend of Italian, Islamic, European and Dravidian style of architecture, where film shooting was allowed for a rent of Rs 5,000 per day.

He alleged that during film shooting, the giant pillars and walls were spoiled by drilling and other activites. Because of this, the Mahal was suffering damage and losing its glory.

Moreover, the Mahal was renovated at a cost of Rs 3 crore, recently by the government. He had already submitted a petition to the Madurai District Collector and the Deputy Director of ASI, appealing to them to ban shooting of films inside the palace. But, no action was taken so far. Hence the PIL was filed, the petitioner said.

After hearing the petitioner, the division bench ordered an interim stay on shooting films in the Mahal and also issued notices to the Madurai District Collector and the Deputy Director of ASI in this connection.

The place is the second most popular tourist attraction in Madurai after the world-renowned Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple.

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