Delhi High Court clears release of ‘Gulaab Gang’
The Delhi High Court on Thursday cleared the way for Bollywood film âGulaab Gangâ to open in cinemas, a day after it put the movieâs release on hold over allegations the film was based on a real-life womenâs rights organization in India with a similar name.
Sampat Pal, the leader of the âGulabi Gangâ — 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 filmâs 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 filmâs 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 Palâs life or her organization.
âThere has been panic among exhibitors because this was so last minute, but we are working to make sure that the release isnât affected,â said Johar.
The filmâs producer, Anubhav Sinha, said the movie was not based on Palâs life.
âThe similarity ends at the title of the film and the name of the gang,â Sinha told India Insight after the court ruling on Thursday.
âOur 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 he said.
Pal was unavailable for comment on Thursday but had spoken to Reuters about the film in February.
Palâs work as a womenâs rights crusader put her in the spotlight in recent years. At least two documentaries and a book have focused on Palâs work and she was a celebrity housemate in Indiaâs version of reality TV show âBig Brotherâ.
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)