Sampat Pal: ‘Who is Madhuri Dixit in front of me?’


By Hindustan Times

A few days ago, Madhuri Dixit excitedly announced her new venture, Gulab Gang. Although producer Anubhav Sinha staunchly denies that the film is based on the life of Gulabi Gang’s founder president Sampat Pal, the latter is up in arms against Madhuri and the film’s makers, including director Soumik Sen.

“I am unhappy with Madhuri Dixit. She is going ahead with the film without even checking with me. Without our permission, Madhuri shouldn’t work in such a film,” says an irate Pal. “Meri izzat ka sawaal hai (it’s all about my dignity). The film can’t be made without my approval.”
Madhuri Dixit

The 65-year-old adds: “Do filmmakers ever make a film based on real life? They come up with movies merely based on newspaper reports and Internet stories. Madhuri Dixit kya hai hamare aage? (who is Madhuri Dixit in front of me?). People like her are just making money while we help the poor for free.”

Pal is also angry that makers refuse to accept that the film is based on her gang. “Instead, they claim it’s a different film. But my question is: where is this Gulab Gang? In which part (of country) are they active? They have to clarify these details. Everyone knows it’s our gang. In the coming days, we will protest against the film,” she says, adding, “If the film gets made, I will go across the country and create trouble for the makers.”

Pal clarifies that none of her members — as has been reported — want to meet Madhuri. “Who’s going to meet them? I am the leader of the gang. How can someone else meet them on our behalf? How can they make a film by simply wearing pink saris?” she questions, before adding that she might take the legal route and seek a ban on the film as well.

Gulab Gang has been conceptualised by Soumik and Sinha. The film will release on March 8 (International Women’s Day), 2013.

What’s Gulabi gang?
The Gulabi gang is a group of women vigilantes and activists originally from Banda in Bundelkhand district, Uttar Pradesh. It is named after the pink saris worn by its members and was founded in 2006 by Sampat Pal in response to widespread domestic abuse and other acts of violence committed against women.