NEW DELHI: A woman who claims to be the secret granddaughter of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has asked a Delhi court to block Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Indu Sarkar” because she says it shows the dynasty in a bad light.
Priya Singh Paul, 48, claims she was adopted as a baby and only told after she grew up that her biological father was Sanjay Gandhi, who died in a plane crash in 1980. Sanjay Gandhi’s widow, Maneka, and son, Feroze Varun, are leaders of the BJP.
She is fighting a legal battle for access to her birth certificate and adoption papers, but said she decided to make her claim public after watching a trailer for the upcoming film.
The movie deals with the controversial state of emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975, a period of deep unrest which saw civil liberties being suspended across the country.
“The film is 70 per cent fiction and 30 per cent fact. I can’t stay quiet if somebody points a finger at my father or grandmother,” said Ms Paul in Delhi. “I am not ashamed, I am not afraid. I am not after power, wealth or property. I just want to establish my identity and protect my family name which is being sullied.”
No one in the Gandhi family has commented publicly on Ms Paul’s claim, which emerged in the media over the last few weeks. Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has demanded a special screening of the film – he said the party cannot allow its “beloved leaders” to be portrayed in “bad light.” The director has refused; he is also fighting 14 cuts demanded by the Censor Board.
Ms Paul says her mother married Sanjay Gandhi in secret because she was underage and was later made to give her up for adoption.
She was brought up by a wealthy couple who did not know her identity but started making enquiries when a family friend told her that she descended from the powerful political family.
Her lawyer Tanveer Nizam said they would seek the court’s permission to conduct a DNA test.
Indu Sarkar stars Supriya Vinod as former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Neil Nitin Mukesh plays Sanjay Gandhi.