In a criminal defamation suit filed in connection with the film Gangubai KathiawadiThe Bombay High Court has granted an interim stay on proceedings initiated by a municipal court against actor Alia Bhatt and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The HC, in an order issued on August 10, granted an interim stay till the date of next hearing on September 7.
On a defamation suit filed by Babuji Shah who claimed to be the adopted son of Gangubai KathiawadiOn which the film is based, a Metropolitan Magistrate had issued summons against Bhat, Bhansali and their production company Bhansali Productions Pvt Ltd in March this year.
Alia Bhatt plays Gangubai, one of the most powerful, beloved and respected madams in Kamathipura, Mumbai’s red-light district in the 1960s.
Babuji Shah claimed that the film was inspired by the novel “Mafia Queens of Mumbai”. Some parts of the work, according to Shah, were defamatory, tarnished the reputation of Gangubai Kathiawadi, and violated her right to privacy. Senior advocate Abad Ponda, representing Bhat, Bhansali and their company, said they were unaware of Shah’s existence.
On 10 August, Justice Revati Mohite Dere issued a notice to Shah and scheduled a hearing on the application filed by Bhat and Bhansali on 7 September. Meanwhile, the proceedings before the trial court, in respect of (qualifying) applicants, have been delayed till the next date, the court said. Another HC bench, in a related move, refused to stay the distribution of the film.
Shah had filed a petition in the High Court seeking a stay on the distribution of the film as well as preventing the authors/publishers of the novel from making any third party rights or publishing any other story about the life of Gangubai Kathiawadi.
In an order issued on July 30, Justice Nitin Sambre dismissed the application holding that any defamatory material ends with the death of the person who created it. Justice Sambre said, it is bound on the appellant (Shah) to establish that he is the adopted son of the deceased Gangubai Kathiawadi, which he has prima facie failed to fulfill.
The film was scheduled to release in September 2020; However, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The makers of the film had earlier this year confirmed that it would hit the theaters in 2021.
more pages: Gangubai Kathiawadi Box Office Collection
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