Nationwide release of Gulab Gang delayed by Delhi High Court
Madhuri Dixit Nene receives the Padma Shri from Indian President Pratibha Patil, New Delhi, India.
Madhuri Dixit isn’t in the pink these days. Her new film, Gulaab Gang, which was slated to open Friday, has been delayed nearly nine weeks after an order from the Delhi High Court.
According to Business Standard, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva felt the film was potentially damaging to Sampat Pal, the founder of the real Gulabi (pink) Gang, a group of women that dress in their namesake colour and fight crimes against women, sometimes using less than orthodox means.
While the film tells the story of a group of women who fight injustices in the rural regions of northern India (and coincidentally also wear pink), filmmakers insist the story is not inspired by Pal, and consequently didn’t seek any permission to use the name or story.
Pal, who appeared in court dressed in her trademark pink sari, sought the restraining order, stating in her plea that the film contained defamatory content.
It seems Sachdeva agreed the film’s portrayal of the main characters brandishing swords and sickles was problematic and consequently stayed the film from "releasing, exhibit-ing, distributing and promoting" until the next hearing set for May 8.
“Should we permit someone to be defamed? How do you compensate for loss of reputation?” Sachdeva asked pro-ducers.
Pal’s group was founded in 2006 in the Bandra district of Uttar Pradesh (northern India), a region still rife with chal-lenges, including illiteracy, caste division, child labour, child marriage, and domestic violence.
The Gulabi Gang gained notoriety by confronting men who repeatedly subjected women to abuse. They’re widely re-garded as rural activists, working to improve the lives of women living in a deeply patriarchal system. And fictional-izing or romanticizing their story not only undermines what is already an uphill battle — it’s another way of showing these women that they somehow don’t count.
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