Case Against Alia Bhatt, Bhansali for ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’

Defamation and infringement of right to privacy are some of allegations made against the filmmaker and actor.

2 min read
Alia Bhatt in and as <i>Gangubai Kathiawadi;&nbsp;</i>filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Gangubai Kathiawadi, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ambitious next film and one of Alia Bhatt’s most talked about forthcoming films, has run into legal trouble. The film is based on writer Hussain Zaidi’s book The Mafia Queens of Mumbai and revolves around the life of Mumbai-based brothel owner Gangubai Kathiawadi. Now, Gangubai’s adopted son Babuji Rawji Shah as filed a case against Bhansali, Bhatt, Zaidi and reporter Jane Borges, who did the original research for Zaidi’s book.

According to a report in The Print, 74-year-old Shah has specifically objected to the book’s second part which has details of Gangubai’s life. Shah has termed the contents of the book defamatory in nature and an infringement upon his right to privacy, self-respect and liberty.

For now, Shah has sought a permanent order restraining the printing and circulation of the book, deleting of specific chapters and halting production of the film. The first hearing in the case took place on Tuesday, and the defendants have been given time till 7 January to respond.

Alia Bhatt on the poster of <i>Gangubai Kathiawadi.</i>
Alia Bhatt on the poster of Gangubai Kathiawadi.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

As per the report, a criminal complaint may also be filed against Bhansali, Bhatt, Zaidi and Borges for defamation, indecent representation of women, and circulation of obscene and indecent material, soon.

Featuring Alia Bhatt as Gangubai Kathiawadi, the film was scheduled to release in September 2020 but had to be postponed due to the pandemic and ensuing lockdown. The crime drama is plotted around Gangubai’s rise as a brothel owner in Mumbai’s red-light area, Kamathipura, and her relationship with underworld don’s such as Karim Lala in the 60s. However, Gangubai’s son states that there is no proof that she had any such links or network.

Shah, who continues to live in Kamathipura, says that ever since the teaser of the film came out he has been physically and verbally harassed in his locality and that even his relatives are being mocked as coming from a ‘prostitute family’.

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