The Delhi High court on Wednesday issued a restraint order against the release, broadcast, distribution and promotion of Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla starrer Gulaab Gang till May on a plea filed by social activist Sampat Pal Devi, founder of the “Gulabi Gang” — a women’s movement in Uttar Pradesh.
According to the plea, production house Sahara One media had “adapted” Devi’s life “as reflected in her website”, and “portrayed the life and work of the plaintiff and her organisation in a horrific manner”. In her petition, Devi raised objection to the depiction of violence and use of swords and sickles by the “gang” members, claiming that such a portrayal “not only defames, but also degrades her and other members of the organisation and lowers her esteem in the eyes of public at large”.
During arguments before Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, advocate Chander Mohan Lal argued the film “showed the organisation in a bad light” and would “affect the goodwill and the work of the organisation”, which has been working for uplifting women.
Devi, who leads pink saree-clad women activists, in her plea stated that neither the production house nor director Shoumik Sen took any authorisation from her to make the movie, and had therefore infringed her privacy and copyright over the name of the organisation.
The lawyer for the NGO also argued the title of the movie as well as the organisational structure and clothing of the group in the movie were “identical” to the real life image of the Gulaabi Gang. “The defendants are trying to exaggerate the plaintiff’s life story for commercial gain,” said the plea.
The lawyers for Sahara One media and the movie director argued the petition was filed days before the release although Devi was aware of the movie being made, and had not raised any objection. But, the court dismissed the argument noting there was a “strong prima facie case” in Devi’s favour. The court will now hear the issues in May.