Hindi News

Gangubai Kathiawadi: Bombay HC Stays Defamation Proceedings against Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Actor Alia Bhatt & Bhansali Productions

The Bombay High Court has temporarily stayed defamation proceedings against the makers of the Hindi film Gangubai Kathiawadi, including the film’s director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, his production house Bhansali Productions, and the film’s lead actor Alia Bhatt, Live Law reported.


Based on a petition filed by the film’s makers to quash the criminal defamation case against them, the court granted a stay on the proceedings until September 7.

Gangubai Kathiawadi is an upcoming Hindi biographical crime drama film that is loosely based on one of the chapters in Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges’ book, Mafia Queens of Mumbai, a collection of stories about women who were part of Mumbai’s underworld. Bhatt plays Gangubai Kathiawadi, who was one of the most influential women in Kamathipura, a red-light district in Mumbai, and owner of many brothels in the area.

Following the release of the film’s teaser in February, Babuji Shah, who claims to be Gangubai’s ‘adoptive’ son, had approached the Metropolitan Magistrate Court opposing her portrayal as a prostitute, brothel keeper and mafia queen in the film as well as the book, with a special objection to a scene featuring Gangubai smoking bidi.

The complainant had submitted that the chapter on Gangubai Kathiawadi in the novel was defamatory in nature, has tarnished her reputation and infringed upon his deceased mother’s right to privacy and self-respect.

The makers of the film were summoned by the court in March based on the criminal defamation complaint filed by Shah under IPC sections 499 (defaming a person or publishing content with the intention to harm them), 500 (punishment for defamation), 502 (sale of defamatory content).

The makers recently argued in the court that the complainant had suppressed facts from the court by failing to disclose that a defamation suit over the same issue was dismissed in February 2021 in the City Civil Court.


They also argued that the contents of the film and the promo released are not defamatory and that the film is based on a book published in 2011, against which no action was taken alleging defamation until 2020.

They further pointed out that Shah has not provided any proof or documentary evidence of his adoption in the complaint and that they were not even aware of his existence until now. 

Gangubai Kathiawadi was earlier scheduled to release on July 31 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.