Updated: February 19, 2021 1:13:11 am
In a relief to filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, actor Alia Bhatt and others, a city civil court on Wednesday dismissed a suit filed by a man seeking permanent injunction on the making and telecast of the upcoming film, Gangubai Kathiawadi.
The suit was filed by Babuji Rawji Shah claiming that he is the adopted son of the late woman and the film, which is based on a chapter in a book, maligned her image, lowered her dignity and was defamatory to him and his family in the society at large. The court accepted the arguments made on behalf of the filmmaker and others that the suit was barred by the law of limitation since the book was released in 2011 and the suit was filed nine years later in December 2020.
In 2011, a book called ‘The Mafia Queens of Mumbai’, co-authored by S Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges, was published. A chapter in the book was titled ‘The Matriarch of Kamathipura’, and was about Gangubai Kathiawadi. The rights of the book were bought by Bhansali’s production house. A film based on the chapter is currently under production.
In the suit filed by Shah through his lawyer Narendra Dubey, it was claimed that Gangubai Harjivandas alias Kathiawadi, who adopted him as a child, stayed in Kamathipura, a red-light area of the city.
Shah submitted before the court that she had worked for the social upliftment of women and prevention of human-trafficking. He further claimed that she dedicated her life for the betterment of sex workers and orphans. Shah further said that he came to know of a film being made on her life and when he saw the information on social media platforms about it, he “was in utter shock”.
He said in his suit that he found out about the book only in August last year and claimed that the chapter on Kathiawadi was false, wrong and portrayed a negative image of his mother, showing her to be a prostitute, mafia queen, running a brothel in the area with links to underworld gangsters. The suit sought a restriction on publishing, advertising of the novel and creation of any third party rights of it.
A notice of motion filed by Bhansali Production Private Limited and Bhansali through legal firm DSK Legal said that Shah has no locus to file such a plea as he has failed to provide any documentary evidence or proof supporting the fact that he is Kathiawadi’s adopted son. It also said that grievances of defamation can only be raised by the person being defamed, which in this case could only have been Kathiawadi. The court took these into consideration. The detailed order of the court is yet to be made available.
Shah’s lawyer, Dubey, said that he will be approaching the Bombay High Court against the civil court’s order.
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