The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved its verdict on Fox Star Studios’ petition against a trial court order about Deepika Padukone-starrer Chhapaak, PTI reported. The movie is based on activist Laxmi Agarwal’s life after she was attacked with acid at the age of 15 by a 32-year-old man whose marriage proposal she had turned down. On Thursday, the trial court had ordered the makers of the film to mention Agarwal’s lawyer Aparna Bhat in the credits.
The High Court’s verdict will be announced on Saturday.
Aparna Bhat claimed to have represented Agarwal in courts for years, and said she had helped with the making of the film. She sought to stop the movie’s release on January 10 after her work was not acknowledged. The trial court said facts showed that Bhat’s plea was well-founded and it was necessary that her contribution be recognised with the line “Aparna Bhat continues to fight the cases of sexual and physical violence against women” during the screening of the film.
Bhat said the film’s director Meghna Gulzar had promised her that everyone watching Chhapaak would know that she had argued Agarwal’s case. Gulzar even reportedly shared with the lawyer the first draft of the film that had a sentence in the end credits about her work. However, after the film’s premiere on January 7, Bhat realised that the acknowledgement had been removed from the final version. The lawyer said she wrote an e-mail to Gulzar but was told that the director would respond after the movie’s release. Bhat then sent a legal notice to Gulzar, and moved court.
Laxmi Agarwal is now a prominent advocate for the rights of acid attack survivors and campaigns to restrict the sale of acid. Her character, called Malti, is played by Deepika Padukone.