Gangubai Kathiawadi, Alia Bhatt’s film, has sparked debate

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The global premiere of Gangubai Kathiwadi, starring Alia Bhatt and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, will take place at Berlinale 2022. The film, which stars Vijay Raaz and Seema Pahwa and marks Shantanu Maheshwari’s Bollywood debut, will be released on February 25, 2022. It has already caused debate ahead of its release.
The Bombay High Court postponed defamation charges against Alia Bhatt and Sanjay Leela Bhansali initiated by a lower court in 2021. In March 2021, a metropolitan magistrate issued summons against Bhatt, Bhansali, and his production business Bhansali Productions Private Limited in response to a defamation action filed by Babuji Rao Shah, who claimed to be Gangubai’s adopted son.
According to sources, Justice SK Shinde remarked on December 22, 2021, after admitting the plea made by Alia, Bhansali, and many others under section 482 of the CrPC, that perhaps the complaint did not reveal elements of defamation within section 499(1) of the IPC.
Alia Bhatt portrays Gangubai, one of Mumbai’s red-light district’s most powerful, adored, and revered madams in the 1960s. The novel “The Mafia Queens of Mumbai,” according to Shah, was the inspiration for the film. According to Shah, several sections of the work were defamatory, tarnished Gangubai’s reputation, and infringed on her right to privacy. Shah had requested a delay on the film’s release and even an injunction banning the novel’s writers/publishers from creating any third-party rights or publishing any other storey concerning her life before the High Court.
Now, speaking to Aaj Tak, Babuji Rao Shah claims that people are saying inexplicable things for his mother after the trailer release. “My mother has been turned into a prostitute. People are now saying inexplicable things about my mother,” he said.
Gangubai’s granddaughter Bharti also spoke to the news channel and said, “The makers have defamed my family out of greed for money. It cannot be accepted. You did not ask for the family’s consent before going ahead with the project. You did not come to us while writing the book, nor did you seek our permission before making the film. My grandmother used to live in Kamathipura. So, did every woman living there become a prostitute? My grandmother had adopted four children there – two daughters, Shakuntala Ranjit Kawi (Bharti’s mother) and Sushila Reddy, and two sons, Babu Raoji Shah and Rajinikanth Raoji Shah. We are from this family but now we’ve been termed ‘illegal’. When our grandmother went through with the adoption, such strict adoption laws were not in place.”
Bharti said that they used to proudly narrate the stories of their grandmother but upon the trailer release, the film has shown as a prostitute. “We used to proudly narrate the stories of our grandmother. But, after the trailer was released, people have been calling to tell us how she is being portrayed as a prostitute. My grandmother has worked for the upliftment of the sex workers there throughout her life. What have these people turned my grandmother into,” she said.
Gangubai Kathiawadi has also been chosen to be played at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival in February, where it will make its global debut as part of Berlinale Special, a section of the festival dedicated to presenting exceptional filmmaking.
Gangubai Kathiawadi will be distributed in all international territories outside of India by Viacom18 Studios and Paramount Pictures International. Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Dr. Jayantilal Gada (Pen Studios) are producing the film, which is expected to hit theatres on February 25, 2022.
Also Read: Ranveer Singh & Alia Bhatt dance along in this Gangubai Kathiawadi song

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