Thursday, March 6, 2014


By SUHASINI RAj for India Ink in NEW DELHI — It sounds like the plot of many a blockbuster movie: A group of underdogs take on a huge corporate machine to right an injustice, and in the end, the underdogs win.
On Thursday, the plot came to life, as Sampat Pal, the leader of the Gulabi Gang, a crusading pink-clad women’s group in rural Uttar Pradesh State, was able to convince the Delhi High Court to delay the Friday release of the Bollywood movie “Gulaab Gang,” which she said took her life story without compensation or credit.
photo credit: Team Gulabi at            

In “Gulaab Gang,” the #Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit plays Rajjo, a woman who sports a pink sari and fights to set up a school in her village. In an interview with India Ink, the director, Soumik Sen, said that his movie had nothing to do with the real Gulabi Gang and that it was actually a tribute to all women, including Ms. Pal.
The movie was set to be released on Friday, the day before International Women’s Day, but earlier this week, Ms. Pal swore that that “come hell or high water” and “whatever it took,” she would not let this movie open in theaters this weekend.
When asked about Ms. Pal’s threats, Mr.Sen was nonchalant, saying that he would not be heartbroken if the movie was not released on the expected date. “If Sampat Pal does anything to stop the movie, there is always a legal system in this country and we will see what happens,” he said.
Ms. Pal acted on her threats, filing her petition on Wednesday with the Delhi High Court. In it, she contended that the script was based on her life and the activities of the Gulabi Gang and that the Bollywood movie defamed her. She sought a permanent injunction against the release of the film and unspecified compensation for damages.
“They show women with sickles and axes in the movie,” she told India Ink. “We do not do any of this. We just wield a stick, which is only symbolic. So what kind of impression are they trying to create in the moviegoer’s minds about us?”