At Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s birthday, Alia Bhatt shared a teaser for her latest film, entitled Gangubai Kathiawadi. Based on a chapter from Hussain Zaidi’s book, Mafia Queens Of Mumbai, the story revolves Gangubai Kathiawadi, who is a prostitute in Kamathipura Mumbai. He was pushed into prostitution at a very early age but over time, he became synonymous with power. His journey is inspiring as we see him rise as the political leader of Kamathipura and head of a brothel.
A teaser that is one minute and thirty seconds long is enough to draw the audience towards the story. The video starts with a poetic introduction to the titular character Alia Bhatt. A voiceover describes her beauty and presence, keeping her synonymous with the moon. According to people, the night in Kamathipura is always lit by moonlight, because Gangubai lives there. And then Alia Bhatt entered, gathered by the women who worshiped her. The character Gangubai is seen as someone who believes that a person’s job or financial status does not determine how much respect they deserve in society. Respect for others is the least you should do. She is seen as a brave woman who stands tall against society. She is seen slapping and kicking a man who tries to make any uncivilized approach towards her or any woman.
Gangubai is a woman who has learned only one thing from living a dignified life. He didn’t believe in being afraid of anyone in power. Be it the police, MLA, ministers or even pimps, women shouldn’t be afraid of anyone. Before long, he was seen rising as the political figure of Kamathipura, with huge support backing him. Having worked in a brothel in the past, she mentioned it at her oath-taking ceremony. She said neither a person like you left me a Mademoiselle nor did anyone respect me enough to marry me. The transparency in her speech and personality, coupled with her strength helped her rise from ground zero. But it’s impossible to assume the true plot of the teaser is that short, we had to wait a little longer for the trailer to come out, and we can predict more details about the storyline.
Who is Gangubai Kathiawadi?
Gangubai was originally born as Ganga Harjivandas, to a prestigious family in Kathiawad, Gujarat. She comes from a family of lawyers, but being captivated by the industry, she has always wanted to become an actress. She fell in love with Ramnik Lal, her father’s accountant and eloped with him. Both of them even got married and came to Mumbai. Gangubai felt this could be a step to make his dream come true. But the young girl doesn’t realize what life has in store for her. Ramnik sold her into a prostitute for just Rs 500, to the red light area, Kamathipura.
After weeks of rocking where life has taken him, Gangu accepts the reality of his life. He knew that he now had nowhere to go and so decided to stay back. Soon she appeared to be known as the most valuable treasure of Kamathipura, a prostitute charismatic enough to make all of Seth empty their wallets in front of her. Being part of a dark world, every day in that red light area adds toughness and strength. During that era, a region of Mumbai was ruled by Karim Lala, the famous don and Kamathipura were part of the region. Once, when a Pathan brutally raped Gangu, leaving him sick for several days, he decided to approach his boss, who happened to be Karim Lala. Karim punished the torturer and brutally beat him. Gangu ties rakhi to Karim and he warns everyone in his local area not to mistreat his younger sister Rakhi and it marks Gangubai’s meteoric rise as he starts to develop contact with the people in power.
As time passed, Gangubai flourished as one of Kamathipura’s most feared pimps, during the 60s. As a victim of forced prostitution, he has a soft corner for women who are forced and sold, like him. He fights for them and takes care of them like themselves. Forcing women to trade is not the way it works. During his reign, the red light area of Kamathipura, was one of the most prosperous routes. While Gangubai is the head of a brothel, various powerful gangsters and underworld mafia are his regular clients. Because of each visit, made by the rich, the red light area was able to earn a lot of income from the underworld. To the point that Gangu wears a sari with gold buttons and edges.
Gangubai is truly undeniable Queen of brothel trading in Bombay. Even though he owned a brothel, he never forced women or girls into prostitution. Instead, he worked to improve the conditions of prostitutes and orphaned children. He defended their rights and dignity and kept them as his own. One such incident included his fight with one of the most significant members of a prominent Mumbai gang. He was fighting over a girl from his brothel when he was allegedly raped by a gangster, brutally. He then raised so many awards that people were in awe of him. Gangubai was a rare woman of that era who advocated enhancing the morale of people of her kind.
– Alia Bhatt (@ aliaa08) 24 February 2021
When Gangubai reprimands Mr. Nehru
Once, when she took the stage at a women’s empowerment summit amid NGOs and social workers and advocated the need for a prostitution belt in the cities, her speech was widely reported that she was able to attract an audience with the Prime Minister. Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru was so impressed by his proposal to protect the red light area, that he ended up asking the reason behind Gangu getting into this business. She believed that instead of being part of the brothel, she could easily find a good husband. To put it bluntly, Gangu quickly asked her if he would marry her. When that question made Mr. Nehru blush, Gangu went on to say that it was easy to state what should be true. Preaching is easy, but practicing is hard.
Gangubai Kathiawadme, who got the nickname from ‘Mrs Kamathipura’ to date, becoming one of the most controversial yet powerful women in history. He drove a black Bentley, being the only brothel owner to own it at that time. His efforts to improve the living conditions of the people in Kamathipura earned the love and respect of the people. It can be seen clearly from the trailer where many people are seen supporting him. Reportedly, the idol and his photo are commonly seen in people’s homes in the area. Although she is a woman who is tough and feared, she has a soft corner from people, who are forced to live in suffering. We know part of his journey through S Hussain Zaidi’s book Queen of the Mumbai Mafia and perhaps, a few more profound anecdotes from his life.
Gangubai Kathiawadi: Release Date
Gangubai Kathiawadi will be released in theaters on July 30, 2021. Gangubai Kathiawadi is scheduled to hit theaters in September 2020, but the ongoing global pandemic pushes the date to 2021. Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, this film marks the first collaboration between Alia Bhatt and the Bhansali film. The story is a bit unusual from what we’ve seen from Sanjay Leela Bhansali, but the film stands tall on one parameter: it centers on content like the rest of his films. No unnecessary drama or spice, but a great storytelling way. Previously, the film was titled Heera Mandi with Priyanka Chopra as the female lead in the film, but then in 2019 was replaced by Alia Bhatt.
Starring Alia Bhatt in the titular role. This film marks the Bollywood debut of Shantanu Maheshwari, who will play the role of Ramnik Lal. In addition, Vijay Raaz, Rohit Sukhwani, and Seema Pahwa will also appear as the main characters. Special cameos by Ajay Devgn as Karim Lala, Emraan Hashmi, and Huma Qureshi have also been reported in the film.