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Double blow for Gulabi activist Sampat, film stay lifted, Gang ousts her

Thursday, 6 March 2014 - 8:48pm IST | Agency: dna

It is ironic that with the Delhi High Court on Thursday lifting a stay order on Madhuri Dixit-starrer Gulaabi Gang, activist Sampat Lal seems to have lost on another count as well — just days after she made her political aspirations public, her organistion Gulabi Gang has expelled her.

Gulaabi Gang stars Madhuri Dikshit and Juhi Chawla in leading roles, marking a comeback of the yesteryear's rivals. The movie is directed by debutante director Soumik Sen and produced by Anubhav Pal.

Pal's Gulabi Gang is a vigilante group of women in pink saris from Banda in Uttar Pradesh who help harassed women by providing them support. But a few days ago, the Gulabi Gang ousted her after she claimed that the Congress will give her a Lok Sabha ticket. The members of the Gulabi Gang said that they were unhappy with Pal's way of functioning and wanted to choose a new leader. However, the organisation said that they will protest against the movie as it did not mention her.

On Thursday, a division bench of acting Chief Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Siddarth Mridul lifted the stay order, granting the film its pre-scheduled release on Friday. "The film can only be shown after giving a clear disclaimer that it has nothing to do with the life of Sampat Pal and her organisation Gulabi Gang," said the division bench.

The filmmakers agreed to run a disclaimer disassociating themselves from Pal and her organisation. This came just a day after a bench comprising Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva issued a stay order on the film based on the life of activist Sampat Pal, citing that the movie may cause "irreparable damage to her reputation".

Pal's lawyer, Kush Sharma, said that the fight is not over yet. "We approached the court yesterday for a stay order and it was a prima facie case and we had been granted with a stay order on the film. However, Sahara Productions, the aggrieved party, appealed the impugned order and the stay was implicated on the condition that a disclaimer will be issued before the movie starts which makes it clear that it is not based on my client's life and her organisation. We, however, objected to the lifting of the stay order, which was noted by the bench. As the matter is sub-judice, neither can I or my client speak further on the matter before the next hearing on March 10," said Sharma.

Sampat Lal had earlier approached the court asking for a restraining order against the release of the film as they did not approach her for permission to make a movie on her life. She also claimed that the trailers of the movie portrayed her in a bad light, showing Madhuri's character, which is based on her, with sticks and sickles in her hand. The court had said that reputation "once lost is lost forever and cannot come back and even can't be compensated with in monetary terms", staying the release for nine weeks.

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