Alia Bhatt plays the boss lady in a world of brothels and insatiable men in Gangubai Kathiawadi

Monali GuptaMar 1 . 9 min read

Ganga Harjivandas, who was born into a wealthy family in Kathiawad, wanted to be a Bollywood actress. When she was 16 years old, she fell in love with Ramnik Lal, her father's accountant. They ran away to Mumbai and married there. But her entire life was turned upside down when he sold her to a brothel in Kamathipura for Rs 500, forcing her to become a prostitute. Later, she rose to prominence as a powerful brothel madame Gangubai Kathiawadi, winning elections in the area where she lived (Kamathipura). Don Rahim Lala became her sworn brother after beating a member of his gang who had raped her. She used to be an outspoken supporter of women's rights and equal rights for sex workers.

Gangubai Kathiawadi is a 2022 Indian Hindi-language biographical criminal drama film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and produced by Jayantilal Gada and Bhansali. Alia Bhatt plays the title character, while Shantanu Maheshwari, Vijay Raaz, Indira Tiwari, and Seema Pahwa are Gangubai Kathaiwadi cast, while Ajay Devgn makes a prolonged cameo appearance. The Gangubai Kathiawadi release date on OTT platform is expected on 10 March 2022. The story follows the lives of young Ganga, who quickly establishes her territory and becomes Gangubai, a madam in Kamathipura's red-light district.

The Gangubai Kathiawadi film is partly based on the true story of Gangubai Harjivandas, also known as Gangubai Kothewali, whose life was documented in S. Hussain Zaidi's book Mafia Queens of Mumbai. The story follows the rise of a simple girl from Kathiawad who had no option but to embrace the ways of fate and turn them to her favor.

On February 16, 2022, the movie premiered at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, and on February 25, 2022, the Gabgubai Kathiawadi release date in theatres. Alia Bhatt is playing the lead role in Gangubai Kathiawadi, and on December 27, 2019, principal photography began in Mumbai. Television personality Shantanu Maheshwari makes his Bollywood debut as Gangubai's boyfriend Afsaan, and TV actor Varun Kapoor, Gangubai Kathiawadi cast makes his Bollywood debut as Ramnik Lal. When the film was 70% finished, it was placed on hold in March 2020 due to a lockdown imposed by the Indian government because of the COVID-19 epidemic. Alia Bhatt Gangubai Kathiawadi returned to work on October 6, 2020, and Ajay Devgn, who appears in a cameo role, joined the set on February 27, 2021. On June 26, 2021, the entire film was completed. 

Gangubai Kathiawadi release date and Trailer

On February 25, 2022, the film was released in theatres. The film was released in Hindi as well as a dubbed Telugu version. The Gangubai Kathiawadi release date on OTT platform is expected on 10 March 2022. The film was originally set to be released on July 30, 2021, but it was postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic's rising cases and second wave. Gangubai Kathiawadi premiered at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival in the Berlinale Special Gala Section on February 16, 2022. It was originally set to open in theatres around the world on January 6, 2022, but the date was pushed back to February 18 to prevent a clash with S. S. Rajamouli's RRR. The release date was later pushed back a week, to February 25, 2022.

Gangubai Kathiawadi Cast

  • Alia Bhatt as Ganga Harjivandas/Gangubai Kathiawadi, 
  • Shantanu Maheshwari as Afsaan
  • Vijay Raaz as Raziabai
  • Indira Tiwari as Kamli
  • Seema Pahwa as Sheela
  • Varun Kapoor as Ramnik Laal
  • Jim Sarbh as Journalist Amin Faizi
  • Ajay Devgn in a lengthy cameo as Rahim Lala
  • Huma Qureshi in a special appearance
  • Rahul Vohra as Prime Minister
  • Anmol Kajani as Birju
  • Prashant Kumar as Badri
  • Raza Murad as Lala's Guest
  • Chhaya Kadam as Rashmibai
  • Mitali Jagtap as Kusum
  • Pallavi Jadhav as Rama
  • Kruti Saxena as Nimmi
  • Sonal Sagore as Banno
  • Lata Singh as Lata
  • Ekta Shri as Ekta
  • Abhirami Bose as Abhirami
  • Chum Durang as Chum
  • Baldev Trehan as Tailor
  • Jahangir Khan as Shaukat Khan Pathan
  • Faiz Khan as Liyakat

Gangubai Kathiawadi review

A true, heartbreaking, and emotional scene depict women invitingly standing at the threshold of a kotha (brothel) in the bustling bylanes of south Mumbai's infamous red-light district Kamathipura. Story set against this grim background of Mumbai, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film 'Gangubai Kathiawadi' portrays the tragedy of numerous young girls who were auctioned off to brothels for a few hundred rupees, solely through the eyes of its protagonist Alia Bhatt Gangubai Kathiawadi. The story takes place in the early 1950s or 1960s when a starry-eyed and innocent Ganga is tricked into tying the knot by her lover Ramnik (Varun Kapoor, Gangubai Kathiawadi cast), who promises to pave the way for her to make it as a Bollywood actress.

Gangubai Kathiawadi real photo

Instead, Ganga (who later renamed herself Gangu and then Gangubai) becomes the protagonist of Kamathipura. Kamathipura becomes her home over time, the brothel girls her family, and Kamathipura as a whole her territory. Her quest, however, is filled with obstacles, adversaries, and a social stigma that brings out the fighter in her.

The film's attractiveness lies in how it depicts Gangu's character evolving through several stages of her life. The story takes its time to develop, even slowing down at times, but it does so without losing its punch thanks to some furious discussions and stunning scenes. It's an Alia Bhatt, Gangubai kathiawadi cast show from start to finish, as she plays the boss lady in a world of brothels and insatiable men. It may take some time to get used to the concept of Alia playing this role, and she, too, is taking her time. With tremendous confidence, daring, and a killer instinct, she delivers the heavily weighted dialogues in the movie. Gangubai Kathiawadi imdb rating of 6.8 out of10, which is quite good but what's unmistakable and weird about all of this is that Alia's character's physical appearance, always dressed in elegant whites, remains unchanged as the story progresses.

Except in a small role as Rahim Lala, Ajay Devgn left an impressive impact. The rest of the supporting actors in Gangubai Kathiawadi, including Seema Pahwa, Vijay Raaz, and Jim Sarbh gave a decent performance but there isn't much chance for them to shine. Shantanu Maheshwari, who plays Gangu's love interest, gives a strong performance, and the bittersweet scenes between Gangu and him are some of the film's highlights.

Bhansali's story is structured like a book, with each obstacle and episode acting as a section. While the film has a lot of information such as Gangu's transformation into a feminist activist in Kamathipura, her interaction with the city's underbelly, and her political ambitions. We are left wanting to learn more about the rest of her life and how it all played out. In Bhansali's distinctive style with a lot of delicacy and flair, there are some wonderfully produced, devastating moments, but the narrative does not go deep into any one element of Gangu's life. 

The outward look of Alia's character, constantly dressed in a white saree, stays recognizable and unusual in all of this, even as the plot progresses.

The movie effectively refers to the past period through the use of vintage movie posters and actor photos on the walls. Even while Gangu stands like a vision in white in the midst of it all, each song is beautifully and colorfully visualized. Apart from Dholida, none of the songs are particularly noteworthy.

Gangubai Kathiawadi, like every other Bhansali film, is a visual feast. The camera captures the gloomy lanes of Mumbai's red-light district with opulence and plenty of gloss. The story brings to light some sad facts about our society and the lives of sex workers, as well as raising some hard-hitting and timely topics, but there is still much about her life that is unknown. The storyline is what falls short here, relying on a few well-crafted dramatic situations and heavy-duty conversations to keep you interested for a while. However, the picture becomes too long for its running time beyond a certain point.

The storyline that's what misses the mark depending on a few well-crafted dramatic scenes and heavy-duty conversations to keep you interested for a while. But after a point, the film feels too long for its runtime.

Conclusion: Gangubai Kathiawadi

If you want a true glimpse inside Gangubai's life, popularly known as Mumbai's Mafia Queen, you'll be left wanting further. Even with everything packed into this movie, many of the life stories remain untold. The film's OTT release date is likely to be March 10th, 2022, but if you're wondering Gangubai Kathiawadi on which OTT platform will be released, it'll be Netflix.

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