Delhi High Court clears release of ‘Gulaab Gang’
The Delhi High Court on Thursday cleared the way for Bollywood film â€śGulaab Gangâ€ť to open in cinemas, a day after it put the movieâ€™s release on hold over allegations the film was based on a real-life womenâ€™s rights organization in India with a similar name.
Sampat Pal, the leader of the â€śGulabi Gangâ€ť — a group of vigilantes wearing pink saris who act on complaints of domestic violence and dowry demands — had moved court against the movie. Pal accused the film-makers of basing the movie on her life without her permission.
On Wednesday, judge Sanjeev Sachdeva suspended the filmâ€™s screening till a court hearing in May, citing irreparable damage and injury to Pal if the film were shown.
Judges BD Ahmed and S Mridul reversed that decision on Thursday, acting on an appeal filed by the filmâ€™s co-producers.
Girish Johar, who heads distribution for Sahara Movie Studios, said they would comply with a court ruling requiring the film to run a disclaimer that it is not based on Palâ€™s life or her organization.
â€śThere has been panic among exhibitors because this was so last minute, but we are working to make sure that the release isnâ€™t affected,â€ť said Johar.
The filmâ€™s producer, Anubhav Sinha, said the movie was not based on Palâ€™s life.
â€śThe similarity ends at the title of the film and the name of the gang,â€ť Sinha told India Insight after the court ruling on Thursday.
â€śOur film is about a woman who fights for her rights, and has to oppose another woman, a politician, who is played by Juhi Chawla. Why should I ask for permission for something I am not doing?â€ť he said.
Pal was unavailable for comment on Thursday but had spoken to Reuters about the film in February.
Palâ€™s work as a womenâ€™s rights crusader put her in the spotlight in recent years. At least two documentaries and a book have focused on Palâ€™s work and she was a celebrity housemate in Indiaâ€™s version of reality TV show â€śBig Brotherâ€ť.
However, media reports said this week that the Gulabi Gang was upset with Pal and would choose a new leader later this month.
(Additional reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Editing by Tony Tharakan; FollowÂ Tony on Twitter atÂ @TonyTharakanÂ and ShilpaÂ @shilpajayÂ |This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)