The makers of Gulaab Gang were in for a shock on Wednesday when Sampat Pal Devi
, founder of Gulabi Gang — the women vigilante group in UP that wears pink sarees and is touted to be the inspiration behind the film -- got a stay order from Delhi high court on the release of the Madhuri Dixit
Nene and Juhi Chawla-starrer. Pal
, also a former Bigg Boss contestant, alleged defamation and lack of permission, and sought financial compensation.
On Thursday, the filmmakers moved the higher bench of the HC against the stay order and the court lifted the stay, clearing the release of Gulaab Gang
What has irked the industry is that the objection comes strategically just two days before the much-anticipated film’s release, questioning Pal’s motive.
"In India, we have seen filmmakers being repeatedly targeted by groups and individuals for personal gains. It’s déjà vu. It’s a tragedy that while the censors are becoming liberal, the civil society is making film industry a soft target," says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan believes such last-minute issues should be nipped in the bud. "Earlier such petty petitions were quashed right in the beginning by the courts."
Some tweeted their concern on Twitter.
"Bollywood is a soft target!" tweeted music director Vishal Dadlani.
"Really hope that this unfair n ridiculous stay order on the release of -#GulaabGang gets lifted today!" wrote filmmaker Milap Zaveri.
However, Sampat’s lawyer told the press that they had sent the notice to the makers in June last year, followed by several more notices. But "they chose to reply only on February 4, saying that the film bears no resemblance to Sampat Pal Devi’s
Pal’s lawyer has been quoted as saying, "There is no group in the entire world other than Pal’s which protests wearing pink saris. Also, Madhuri’s character is shown with a sickle and a laathi
. This is very derogatory for my client."
The fraternity, however, remains unforgiving, and filmmaker Sudhir Mishra raises another point, "I’m told that in the creative process, you are allowed to use whatever is in the public domain!"