Maharashtra MLA Ameen Patel along with residents of Kamathipura area in South Mumbai approached the Bombay High Court against the movie Gangubai Kathiawadi starring actress Alia Bhatt. The residents have objected against the makers for portraying the entire Kamathipura area as a red-light hub and sought removal of references of the area in the petition.
According to the residents the reputation of the area has been lowered down after the trailer of the movie was released.
A resident of Kamathipura, Shraddha Surve filed the petition before a division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar, seeking urgent hearing in the matter as the movie is scheduled to release on 25 February, Friday.
The bench said that it would hear the petition filed by the resident of Kamathipura on Wednesday.
A number of brothels operated in Kamathipura area of South Bombay in the past however, the petitioner claimed that now not even five percent of the area is active in prostitution, therefore, the name of the area should not be used in the movie.
“If the movie is allowed to be released with the name of Kamathipura, then it would cause harm and disrespect to the residents, especially women. There should be no reference to the name ‘Kamathipura’, let the name be changed to anything else…Mayapuri or Mayanagari. The reputation of the area has been lowered after the release of the film’s trailer, which portrays the entire area as a red-light hub, not even five percent of the Kamathipura area is active in prostitution.”
The plea also stated that the movie will cause a social impact and all girl residents will be termed prostitutes, teased and taunted and families will have to live with lowered dignity.
The PIL mentioned that several local service organisations such as the Punarjivan Rahivaasi Seva Manda, Tiranga Housing Society, Akhil Padmashali Samaj and residents objected to the portrayal of the neighbourhood as a hub of flesh trade.
Congress MLA Ameen Patel also filed a separate Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the film for similar reason. He said that several people including Gangubai’s daughter and other family members opposed the portrayal of Kamathipura as a red-light area and showing Gangubai as a prostitute and an alleged ‘mafia queen’. They claimed that she was not a mafia queen and worked for the rights of the victims of prostitution.
Ganga Harjeevandas Kathiawadi also known as Gangubai Kathiawadi was an Indian madam of a brothel in the Kamathipura area of South Mumbai, Maharashtra in the 1960s. She fell in love with one Ramnik Lal, who worked as an accountant of her father. Gangubai ran away with Ramnik from Kathiawad to Mumbai and settled down in the city.
However, it is said that her lover, Ramnik deceived her and sold her to a brothel for ₹500. She started her new life as a prostitution and started living in the red-light area of Kamathipura area of Mumbai. She became a prominent name of the biggest red light area of Mumbai. She came in contact with underworld mafia people.
She ruled Kamathipura, even after facing hardships in her own life, she never used her power to forcefully exploit young girls and even worked for the rights of all the other sex workers.
The movie based on Hussain Zaidi’s book “Mafia Queens of Mumbai”, dwells on some facets of the life of Gangubai Kathiawadi. However, the movie is being opposed by a number of people who claims to be the relatives of Gangubai.
A Mumbai court had issued summons to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actor Alia Bhatt based on a complaint filed by a man who claimed to be an adopted son of Gangubai.
The man claimed that the movie showed her mother as a ‘prostitute’ and a ‘mafia queen’. The man claimed that the women of the family are facing abusive comments by men of the area which is affecting their reputation.